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Spotahome Neighbourhood Guide: Best things to do in Brixton, London

Spotahome Neighbourhood Guide: Best things to do in Brixton, London

by Sabrina @ The Spotahome Blog

Heaven for foodies, clubbers, art and music lovers, Brixton is the right place to be. Here's your guide to the best places to eat, drink, dance and shop.

The 23 Best Free Business Checking Accounts

The 23 Best Free Business Checking Accounts


Fundera Ledger

We’re making it easy to weigh all possible factors and find the best free business checking account for you. Never settle with your small business!

Investing in European P2P Lending Platforms

by Jean @ Jean Galea

Amongst all the online investment platforms available today, P2P loan platforms are the ones which offer the highest returns. That, of course, comes with increased risk. Let’s have a look at how P2P loans work and which are the leading platforms. The traditional way of getting loans was to go to a bank, describe why […]

The post Investing in European P2P Lending Platforms appeared first on Jean Galea.

Bank Of The West Review: $150 Checking Account Bonus

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Get the latest Bank of the West bonuses and promotions here. There are branches in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY. Typical promotions for Checking accounts have been for $150, $200 and $300. They also oftentimes have promotions for their investment services […]

Self Lender Review: Is It Good?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Self Lender promises to help you build credit. But is it legit? Read this review to learn how it works.

If you don't have a credit history, creditors probably won't give you a chance. How can you build credit without someone giving you a break?

Enter Self Lender - a credit monitoring and credit building system that helps people with low or damaged credit increase their credit score.

Read on to see if Self Lender might be the right service for you.

What Is Self Lender?

Self Lender is a free credit monitoring system. But they also offer credit building loans. This is where they make their money.

Self Lender's credit monitoring service gives you on-demand access to your credit score. It gives you access to your credit history at all times. Self Lender also offers suggestions on how to improve your credit. They provide all of this free of cost.

However, the credit building loan is the real meat and potatoes of Self Lender. They provide loans regardless of your credit score. The main purpose of the loan is to build or improve a low credit score. In other words, they give you a chance no matter how many other lenders turned you down.

How Self Lender Works

The Self Lender loan isn't your typical loan. Think of it like a loan in reverse. You don't receive the proceeds from the loan upfront. Instead, it's placed in a Certificate of Deposit for you. The maturity date equals the term of the loan.

You then make payments over the course of the term of the loan (12 to 24 months). Your payments are both principal and interest. At the end of the term, the CD matures. You receive the principal, plus the small amount of interest it gained during that time.

As you make payments, Self Lender reports them to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you make your payments on time, this will help build up your credit score.

Some people think of it like a forced savings program. In order to receive the savings, you have to make timely loan payments. At the end of the term, you will receive the principal amount paid for the loan.

Who Benefits from Self Lender?

Self Lender is ideal for people who have little to no credit. If you've ever tried to apply for credit only to be turned down because you don't have any credit, you are a good candidate. How are you supposed to prove you are credit worthy if no one will extend credit?

This is where Self Lender helps the most. They don't pull your credit to determine eligibility.

It can also be a good option for those with damaged credit. With a poor credit history, many creditors will turn you down for new credit. Without new credit, it's nearly impossible to rectify your score. Self Lender can help by providing you with the credit building loan.

Before you jump on board though, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18-years old
  • You have a valid bank account
  • You can afford the monthly payments that vary between $25 - $194 per month
  • You could benefit from a forced-savings account

Opening an Account and What It Costs

Opening a Self Lender account takes about five minutes. They need the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Amount of income

Once you provide this information, Self Lender runs a check on ChexSystems. Similar to running your credit, this system checks your bank account history. This keeps an eye on how you treat your bank accounts. They look for overdrafts and bad checks. However, unless you let your overdrafts sit unpaid, you should be in good shape.

If your ChexSystems report comes back clean, Self Lender will ask you which loan amount you want from a predetermined list of options:

  • $525 ($25 paid over 24 months)
  • $545 ($48 paid over 12 months)
  • $1,000 ($89 monthly payment over 12 months)
  • $2,200 ($194 monthly payment over 12 months)

You then enter your payment information. You can use a checking account or debit card. However, using a debit card will cost you an additional 2.99% plus $0.30 as a convenience fee. Using your checking account is best.

Self Lender also charges a small administrative fee based on your loan amount. It varies between $9 and $15. The fee is non-refundable, but is a one-time fee.

How the Credit Builder Loan Helps

The moment you take out the Credit Builder Loan, you have a FDIC-insured Certificate of Deposit opened in your name. Like any other CD, you cannot touch the money until it reaches maturity. In this case, it's 12 or 24 months.

The bank deposits the full amount in the CD, allowing it to earn 0.10% interest over the next 12-24 months. While the interest is really peanuts, the real benefit lies in the payments you make towards the loan.

As long as you make each loan payment on time, Self Lender reports the timely payments to the credit bureaus. According to Self Lender, on average clients with the standard $1,100 loan and timely payments see their credit score increase as much as 45 points in just 6 months.

This only works, however, if all aspects of your credit are in line. For example, if you have a credit card with another company that you let default, your credit score will fall. This is independent of what the Credit Builder loan can do for you. It's up to you how you handle all aspects of your credit profile.

Tip: It's best if you do not pay the Credit Builder Loan early. The main benefit is the timely payments reported to the credit bureau. If you pay it off early, you negate the benefits of the loan. Plus, you cannot touch the CD until maturity or you risk paying a penalty.

Pros and Cons of Self Lender

As with any financial product, there are pros and cons of Self Lender.

Pros

  • All payments are reported to the credit bureau to help you build a credit profile.
  • You have a "forced" savings account.
  • You don't need a credit check to get approved.
  • The upfront administrative fee is affordable.
  • The interest rate is often less than that of a credit card.
  • An installment loan may diversify your credit mix, which further helps your credit score.

Cons

  • If you have a negative history with bank accounts, you may not qualify.
  • Late payments are reported to the credit bureaus and could damage your credit.
  • It costs you 5% per monthly payment if you miss the grace period of 15 days.
  • The interest earned on the CD is next to nothing.
  • You have to pay to take out the loan versus other free ways to build credit.

How It Compares to Other Options to Build Credit

Self Lender isn't the only way consumers with thin or damaged credit can build credit.

  • Secured credit card: This option isn't free upfront, but it can be if handled correctly. Your credit line equals your deposit. You can find secured credit cards that require as little as $200 deposited. If you pay the balance off each month, you don't pay any interest. You can also get your deposit back if you upgrade or close your account.

  • Co-signer on a loan: If you have a willing co-signer for a loan, you may be able to get approved for a standard credit card or installment loan.

  • Authorized user: Ask to become an authorized user on a parent, sibling, or other close relative's credit card. Make sure you ask the credit card company beforehand if they report payment history for authorized users, though.

Bottom Line

If you've exhausted all other "free" options to build credit, Self Lender can be helpful. If you don't have anyone who can co-sign a loan or make you an authorized user, you have two options: a secured credit card or Self Lender. If you don't have the money to open a secured credit card, Self Lender may offer the lower cost way to build your credit.

Make sure before you take this option that you can afford the monthly payments. Paying for a loan that you will only pay late will damage your credit score and cost you money. When taken responsibly, though, the service can help you improve your score in a short amount of time.

Self Lender Review: Is It Good? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Protected: Testing New Bankrate Tags

by Ogbe Airiodion @ AdvisoryHQ

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

Chase Coupon Promo Codes: $200, $300, $350, $500 (Feb 2018)

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Chase Bank coupon codes, bonuses, and promotions for their Checking, Savings and Business accounts can all be found up-to-date here. Chase promotions are constantly updated throughout the year, so bookmark this page for updates. Many Chase coupon codes are periodically available. Current and past coupons include the following: $100, $150, $175, $200, $250, $300, $350, $400, $500, $600 and […]

Best Events and Festivals in Europe - February 2018

Best Events and Festivals in Europe - February 2018

by Sabrina @ The Spotahome Blog

With Carnival season upon us, we look at the best parties around Europe this February, from the Carnival celebrations in Venice to Chinese New Year.

The Best Foundation

by Amanda Cole @ Reviews.com

8 Timeless Money Tips to Put to Work in 2018

by Holly Johnson @ Chime Banking

If you’re hoping 2018 is the year you (finally!) get your money on point, it’s smart to look back on last year’s successes and failures, while focusing on new, doable goals. That means foregoing, say, a quest to find the next cryptocurrency or better time the stock market. Instead, try focusing on some tried and true […]

The post 8 Timeless Money Tips to Put to Work in 2018 appeared first on Chime Banking.

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018


ValuePenguin

Not all online checking accounts are created equal. Our analysis of the top options can help you decide on the best online checking account for your financial situation.

How to Balance a Checkbook in 2018

by Jeff Gitlen @ LendEDU

After we entered the digital age of banking, many people felt comfortable giving up check registers and balancing checkbooks because they can monitor their checking account online. However, being able to balance a checkbook is still a useful skill to have in personal finance. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, then you might benefit […]

The post How to Balance a Checkbook in 2018 appeared first on LendEDU.

CommBank, Westpac, NAB to launch new mobile payment app Beem

by Sam Bloom @ Online Banking – Canstar

The application is called Beem and will allow users to store their debit card information and make instant contactless payments using the same technology as applications like Apple Pay and Android Pay. Beem will also allow users to request payments and split bills, making it useful for both personal use and for businesses. Although being created by Commonwealth Bank, … Continued

The post CommBank, Westpac, NAB to launch new mobile payment app Beem appeared first on Canstar.

Travel deal alert: The best cheap Spring Break destinations for 2018

Travel deal alert: The best cheap Spring Break destinations for 2018

by Mike Timmermann @ clark.com

Booking.com reports that some of the most popular Spring Break destinations will actually be more affordable this year! Here's the list.

Best High Yield Online Savings Accounts - February 2018

Best High Yield Online Savings Accounts - February 2018


Wallet Hacks

My first online savings account was with a little-known Dutch bank making its foray into the United States. They were orange, not a typical banking color (most prefer blues and greens here), had an acronym for their name (or was it just the name?), and people were still skeptical about online banking. I loved them. …

The Best Extended Car Warranty

by Philip Palermo @ Reviews.com

The Best Banks of 2018 | Reviews.com

The Best Banks of 2018 | Reviews.com


Reviews.com

The best bank should maximize your investment with high interest rates and low fees and it should also make saving and money management painless.

Know How Much You Owe: Federal Student Loans Course Begins Today!

by Danielle Desir @ The Thought Card

Learn how to identify and organize your federal student loans in one place with this federal student loans course!

I’m so excited to announce that my new online course Know How Much You Owe: Federal Student Loans is open for enrollment. I created this course to help people with federal …

The post Know How Much You Owe: Federal Student Loans Course Begins Today! appeared first on The Thought Card.

The countdown to the 2018 bonkers.ie National Consumer Awards is on!

by @ bonkers.ie blog

We can’t wait to see all of the shortlisted nominees next Thursday at the beautiful Round Room at the Mansion House. Speaking of the shortlist, let’s remind ourselves which companies made the grade this year… 

Virgin Media leads the way with six nominations, Energia and Electric Ireland both have five nominations and eir has four.

Below is a full list of the companies that made the shortlist and you can view all of the categories on our dedicated awards site here.

The Shortlist:

  • Bord Gáis Energy

  • Eir

  • Electric Ireland

  • Energia

  • Flogas

  • Just Energy

  • KBC Ireland

  • Netflix

  • NOW TV

  • Pepper Mortgages

  • Permanent TSB

  • Pinergy

  • Pure Telecom

  • Sky Ireland

  • SSE Airtricity

  • Virgin Media

  • Virgin Mobile

The bonkers.ie National Consumer Awards will celebrate excellence in customer value in thirteen categories across banking, broadband & TV, energy, marketing and service.

The winning company in twelve of the thirteen categories will be selected by an independent judging panel, which is chaired by Bobby Kerr and includes an array of industry experts such as Michael Mulhall, Peter Callan and Lucy Campbell.

Best Customer Service – public vote

The winner of the Best Customer Service category will be selected by members of the public. This highly competitive category will be contested by Electric Ireland, Flogas, Pure Telecom, Sky, SSE Airtricity and Virgin Media.

A night to remember...

If the resounding success of last year’s awards is anything to go by, attendees are in for a treat! We look forward to greeting you at 6.30PM next Thursday but until then be sure to check out our awards website for full details of what’s in store.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

The Best Wedding Insurance

by Philip Palermo @ Reviews.com

Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for February 6, 2018

Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for February 6, 2018


Deposit Accounts

These are the days when deposit accounts can be very appealing. When stock markets are tanking, it’s nice to know that nothing is dropping in your savings...

Best Places to Work & Study Remotely in Turin

Best Places to Work & Study Remotely in Turin

by Sabrina @ The Spotahome Blog

Turin is one of the most underrated Italian cities, but there is so much to see and do. Discover where you can work whether you're a freelancer or a student.

Which Australian Banks Offer Apple Pay?

by Sam Bloom @ Online Banking – Canstar

A digital wallet allows you to make payments quickly and securely and using smartphones to make everyday transactions will likely soon become the norm. Given the most popular phone in the country is Apple’s iPhone – 35% of all handset sales in the three months to June 2017 – there is one digital wallet service Aussies are … Continued

The post Which Australian Banks Offer Apple Pay? appeared first on Canstar.

CUA Pioneers New ID Verification Service

by Sam Bloom @ Online Banking – Canstar

The system will allow new customers to verify their identity online in minutes, rather than having to complete a physical application at a branch. Digital iD™ creates a ‘digital identity’ for customers, allowing them to upload pieces of identifying information, such as a driver’s license or passport, to be stored securely. The service can then … Continued

The post CUA Pioneers New ID Verification Service appeared first on Canstar.

AT&T Internet Review

by Amanda Cole @ Reviews.com

American Express Personal Savings Account Review

by Jim Wang @ Wallet Hacks

American Express (AMEX) is best known for their credit cards but they do much much more. Credit cards is where they started, many years ago, but now they offer bank accounts too. We know they have great perks on their credit cards, but what about their bank products? Their high yield savings account is called […]

The post American Express Personal Savings Account Review appeared first on Wallet Hacks.

App-based banking: Best online and app-based bank accounts - MSE

App-based banking: Best online and app-based bank accounts - MSE


MoneySavingExpert.com

Find the best personal finance apps for managing your money, plus key need-to-knows about app-based banking and savings

Best Second Chance Checking Accounts

Best Second Chance Checking Accounts


Personal Finance Made Easy - Banking, Loans, Credit Card Advice | echeck.org

Out detailed list of the best, legit second chance bank accounts in the United States

The 10 Best Vanguard Funds

by Jim Wang @ Wallet Hacks

I love Vanguard. The bulk of my investments are there, minus a few dividend growth stocks I hold in an Ally Invest account (formerly TradeKing). I'm not the only one. Of the top 25 largest mutual funds by assets, sixteen are from Vanguard (source). A clarification – many of the funds on the Marketwatch list […]

The post The 10 Best Vanguard Funds appeared first on Wallet Hacks.

Top 8 European Destinations for the Perfect Erasmus Experience

Top 8 European Destinations for the Perfect Erasmus Experience

by Sabrina @ The Spotahome Blog

We explore the top cities in Europe for your Erasmus experience, from the best universities to the perfect nightlife, to sports, fashion and food,

How to Open a Free Online Bank Account with Chime

by Melanie Lockert @ Chime Banking

Whether you want to open your first bank account or switch to a new one, it can be a daunting process. You may be wondering “How long does it take to open a bank account?” Or, “What do I need to open a bank account?” You may also feel unsure about the next steps. Here’s […]

The post How to Open a Free Online Bank Account with Chime appeared first on Chime Banking.

Switching mortgages: what are the legal fees and which banks will pay them for you?

by @ bonkers.ie blog

Figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland reveal that just 777 borrowers switched or remortgaged for the third quarter of 2017, and though that number seems small, it represents a 15% growth on the year.

Experts at MyMortgages.ie have predicted that switching will experience double-digit growth in the first six months of 2018. This is because an increasing number of mortgage holders are becoming aware that switching to a lower rate could potentially save them anywhere in the region of €311 per month and €112,000 over the lifetime of an average €350,000 mortgage.

So, with so much to save, why have mortgage holders been so slow to switch?  

Well, switching can be scary, particularly when it comes to your biggest monthly bill. Then there’s all the paperwork and small print. And significantly, there’s also the murky legal fees that are associated with switching too.

If you’re like me, you recoil at the sound of ‘legal fees’, assume that they will always be big, and feel uneasy about the prospect of spending a lot of money without really knowing what it’s going towards.

So, let’s take a closer look at those legal fees, see what they’re for and find out how much they’ll cost you.

Why do I need to pay legal fees to switch mortgage providers?

If you decide to switch mortgage providers, you must employ a solicitor to take care of the processing, paperwork and liaising. Thankfully, when it comes to switching, the cost and workload for the solicitor is about half of what it is when buying a new property.

Most of your legal costs will go on your solicitor’s professional fee, with some extra euro going on his/her outlays, associated costs and, of course, VAT. Here’s a summary of what they’ll do for their fee:

1. First, your solicitor will request the deeds to your home from your old bank and act as the point of contact with your new bank for the switching process.

2. Your solicitor will then invite you in for a consultation to go through the loan offer from your new bank and to advise on any questions or concerns you might have.

3. If you’re happy to proceed with the switch, you’ll sign a new loan agreement, which your solicitor will send to your new bank. If you wish to add a new name to the title deeds of your home, your solicitor can help with that too.

4. Once there’s a legally-binding contract in place, your solicitor will continue to deal with your new bank (and a broker, if there’s one involved) until your loan cheque is issued.

How much can I expect my legal fees to be?

On top of the professional fees for the basic legal services provided by your solicitor, there will also be some “outlays”, which must be covered too. This includes the consultation time, along with the cost of the paperwork and administration. And then there’s VAT.

Although not strictly a legal fee, there is always a valuation fee associated with switching mortgages too, which will cost you between €150 - €250 plus VAT.

All in, legal fees for switching mortgage providers should amount to somewhere between €1,200 and €2,000.

Which banks will cover my legal fees when I switch?

As a clear sign of increasing confidence in Ireland’s property market, most banks are now offering to cover some or all of your legal fees to encourage borrowers to switch. Here’s what’s on offer:

Bank of Ireland – 3% cashback on the mortgage’s total value

If you switch your mortgage to Bank of Ireland before June 30th 2018, you’ll receive an unlimited 2% cashback return on the total value of your mortgage.

So, if you’re buying a home for €200,000 and are taking out a €180,000 mortgage, you’ll get €3,600 back straight away. That will cover your legal fees and should still leave you with something left over for a new coffee machine for your kitchen.

If you are a Bank of Ireland current account customer, get an additional 1% of the original mortgage amount as Cashback after 5 years (subject to meeting the terms of the mortgage). 

KBC - €3,000

If you switch mortgages before March 31st 2018, KBC will contribute €3,000 towards your legal fees. You’ll receive this tidy sum within 30 days of drawing-down your mortgage, and it should cover your legal fees in full. KBC is also offering a 50% discount on its Home Insurance product for 12 months if you switch.

Ulster Bank - €1,500

By switching your mortgage to Ulster Bank, you’ll get €1,500 towards your legal fees. This offer is available until June 30th 2018.  

Permanent TSB - 2% cashback

Switch mortgages to Permanent TSB before March 31st, 2018 and you’ll get 2% cashback on your mortgage at drawdown and now 2% cashback on your mortgage repayment every month until 2027. What does that mean? Check out the following example:

Let's say your mortgage amount is €300,000. At drawdown, you'll get €6,000 back in cash and then you'll get a further €29.40 per month (€352.77 per year) until 2027. (Monthly cashback based on 3-year fixed rate of 3.30% over a 25-year term paid to 2027).

AIB - €2,000

To help cover your switching legal costs, AIB will pay you €2,000 into the current account you use to pay your new mortgage within two months of your switching.

Mortgage interest rates are where the real savings lie

While the prospect of having all switching legal fees covered is enticing, it is the interest rate on offer that will determine whether or not switching mortgages will save you money over the lifetime of your loan. Our mortgage calculator will help you determine where your best long-term option lies.

There are potentially tens of thousands of euros to be saved by switching mortgages. The banks' incentives to switchers are a sign of increasing competition in the mortgage market, which is promising for borrowers. The incentives on offer also confirm that short-term financial costs shouldn't be a deterrent to switching for borrowers who believe they are over-paying, and we hope to see the number of mortgage switchers continue to increase over the coming months.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

The Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies in the U.S. in 2018

by Jeff Rose @ Good Financial Cents

Sorting through life insurance policies can be frustrating and time-consuming. We've done the research for you and come up with a list of the top 10 best life insurance companies - so you can get back to enjoying life knowing your loved ones will be taken care of.

The post The Top 10 Best Life Insurance Companies in the U.S. in 2018 appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Top 11 Best Online Savings Account Banks - Start Making Interest Today!

Top 11 Best Online Savings Account Banks - Start Making Interest Today!


Good Financial Cents

The industry's low interest rates don't have many excited about online savings accounts, but liquid and safe saving should still be part of your financial strategy. We outline the best accounts so that you can start earning interest today.

Online Banking - Compare Online Bank Accounts - Canstar

Online Banking - Compare Online Bank Accounts - Canstar


Canstar

Our analysts have researched almost all online banking providers to come up with an award winners. Find out which online banking is the best for you.

Top 11 Financial Advisors & Wealth Management Firms in Florida | 2018 Ranking

Top 11 Financial Advisors & Wealth Management Firms in Florida | 2018 Ranking

by AdvisoryHQ @ AdvisoryHQ

RANKING & REVIEWS BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN FLORIDA 2018 Ranking: The Best Financial Advisors in Florida (Statewide) Florida is known for its glam and its luxury, which means there is a lot of money circulating through the Sunshine State. But if you want to keep the good times going without going bust, you’ll need professionals […]

Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

What is the Best Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker?

by Jean @ Jean Galea

So you’ve started buying and selling some Bitcoin, then bought some Ether, and perhaps even ventured further to buy some Dash and Litecoin. After some time, seeing that you’re profiting massively, you decide to sell some of your tokens. Some time later, you decide to buy a new token that you believe will revolutionise the […]

The post What is the Best Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracker? appeared first on Jean Galea.

Electric Ireland’s price increase takes effect

by @ bonkers.ie blog

Electric Ireland received praise from customers and commentators when it announced in October that it would freeze its price until after winter.

The announcement came at a time when other suppliers were hiking prices with little notice and hitting customers with bigger bills at one of the most expensive times of the year.

Well, all good things must come to an end and Electric Ireland’s price freeze is no exception.

From tomorrow, February 1st, over 1.1 million of the supplier’s customers will be paying more for each until of electricity used.

Bills to increase by €35

Electric Ireland’s price increase will add about €35 to average annual bills.

Customers with average consumption will pay about €1,006 for electricity over the next 12 months, as opposed to the €971 they paid over the past year.

The increase is being blamed on increased wholesale energy costs and is generally in line with the increases introduced by other suppliers.

On November 1st, Bord Gáis Energy increased average annual gas and electricity prices by €25 and €57, and SSE Airtricity increased electricity prices by €47 a year.

Then, on December 1st, Energia increased electricity prices by €31, Flogas increased gas prices by €20, Pinergy increased electricity prices by €41 and PrePayPower increased electricity prices by €34.

Electric Ireland’s plan to reward loyalty

Despite the price increase, Electric Ireland has taken measures over the last year to offer long-term savings to its customers.

Last summer, the supplier began adding automatic discounts of between 4% and 8.5% to existing customers’ bills.

The supplier has an estimated 1.13 million electricity customers and holds a market share of nearly 55%, according to the CRU’s Q3 2017 Markets Retail Report.

With so many customers to keep happy, it’s not surprising that the supplier is doing all it can to discourage switching.

How to offset rising energy prices

Ireland’s energy customers haven’t had much to smile about over the last few months.

Seven suppliers have increased prices, the PSO Levy has gone up by 30% and, to make it all even tougher to swallow, in November we learned that Ireland has the fourth highest electricity prices in the EU.

But now for the good news...it’s ridiculously easy to offset the increases.

There are 10 energy suppliers to choose from and most of them are currently offering massive discounts and cashback to new customers who switch.

In fact, there’s an average of €380 to be saved by switching at the moment - more than enough to cancel out your price increase and the PSO Levy hike and leave you with some leftover savings for yourself.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

The Best Banks for Your Money in 2018

The Best Banks for Your Money in 2018


MSN

Your checking account could be earning as much as 1.25 percent in interest -- more than 30 times higher than the national average. Here's what you should consider before switching banks.

Warning: 5 Valentine’s Day scams your wallet will NOT love!

Warning: 5 Valentine’s Day scams your wallet will NOT love!

by Alex Thomas Sadler @ clark.com

Valentine’s Day is a popular time for people who are hoping to find love online.

But while you might be looking for love, there are others who are just trying to take your money!

According to the National Retail Foundation

Why Big Banks Charge Fees

by Lindsay VanSomeren @ Chime Banking

Raise your hand if you’re fed up with big bank fees. These pesky fees can put a damper on your day and a drain on your finances. According to a 2016 survey by the Pew Charitable Trust, a full quarter of people who use bank overdraft services regularly end up paying out at least one week’s […]

The post Why Big Banks Charge Fees appeared first on Chime Banking.

Tools to Help Organize Your Taxes

by Glen Craig @ Free From Broke

When you’re down to the wire at tax time, organization is your best friend. Your best option is to stay organized year round so that you aren’t scrambling at tax time. There’s not much worse than trying to find a tax document right before you file your taxes or head to the accountant. Whether you are […]

Copyright © Free From Broke - A Personal Finance Blog Please visit for more great content!

Tools to Help Organize Your Taxes

Paying Taxes with a Credit Card: Pros and Cons

by Glen Craig @ Free From Broke

Are you thinking of paying taxes with a credit card? The thought of clearing a debt with the IRS in one fell swoop is certainly appealing, and if your credit rating is not in good standing in order to obtain a bank loan, that credit card can sure look good. But is using a credit […]

Copyright © Free From Broke - A Personal Finance Blog Please visit for more great content!

Paying Taxes with a Credit Card: Pros and Cons

Facebook poll: 77% of parents want to choose the age their children go online

Facebook poll: 77% of parents want to choose the age their children go online

by Craig Johnson @ clark.com

Facebook continues to be immensely popular even though the number of people using the social media site on a daily basis dipped slightly to 1.4 billion in the company’s latest earnings report. The site has also been under intense scrutiny …

The 5 Best Business Bank Accounts for Entrepreneurs

The 5 Best Business Bank Accounts for Entrepreneurs


Startup Savant

Swiftly learn a bit about the 5 best business bank accounts for entrepreneurs and get quick access to our more thorough reviews as well.

First Time Home Buyers in Arizona | Best Loans for AZ First Time Home Buyers

by AHQ Ranking & Review Team @ AdvisoryHQ

Getting the Best Mortgage as a First Time Home Buyer in Arizona While homes in the dry, warm Arizona climate may have traditionally been thought of as for retirees-only, the state’s dynamic economic growth has boosted demand from first time home buyers in AZ. As reported in Forbes, cities like Phoenix and Flagstaff are experiencing […]

Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

New Estimated Annual Bill rule will make it much easier to spot good electricity deals

by @ bonkers.ie blog

Electricity prices have been too confusing for too long.

New research from the ESRI has proven something we’ve had a hunch about for a long time - the way electricity prices are structured and marketed isn’t as clear as it could be.

Most suppliers offer big discounts to new customers, and those discounts can range from 5% all the way up to 33%. But here’s the catch: those discounts are often taken off different unit rates, depending on the supplier.

So, a supplier offering a 30% discount isn’t necessarily going to be cheaper than a supplier offering a 20% discount.

Pretty confusing, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Thankfully, the CRU agrees too and has introduced a new rule, forcing suppliers to provide an estimated annual bill in their ads.

ESRI findings support Estimated Annual Bill rule

To test to the potential effectiveness of the new Estimated Annual Bill rule, the ESRI has run a number of experiments to give us an insight into the factors that influence our decision-making when choosing an electricity supplier.

In one experiment, 36 consumers were presented with pairs of electricity deals and asked to pick their favourite. The prices of some deals were presented as discounts from standard rates and others were presented as actual unit rates (i.e. no discounts).

When participants were shown prices presented as discounts off standard rates, they chose the cheapest option 54% of the time. But when they were shown actual unit rates, they chose the cheapest option 80% of the time.

We’ve all been confused by electricity prices and bills in the past, but the ESRI’s findings prove that this confusion has, in many cases, led to costly wrong decisions.

In a second experiment, 40 consumers were shown a series of ads, some of which included an estimated annual bill for average users expressed in euro terms, others of which didn’t.

Unsurprisingly, participants were more successful at accurately identifying good value when the estimated annual bill was displayed. And as it happens, when the estimated annual bill was presented with the same prominence and font as other pricing information, accuracy improved further.

These findings bode well for us consumers. We can expect to see a clear estimated annual bill the next time we’re presented with printed advertising or marketing material. From mid-2018, suppliers will also have to include an estimated annual bill on radio and TV ads.

Clarity for consumers

The CRU’s decision to require Ireland’s electricity suppliers to display an estimated annual bill in their marketing material is good news for consumers and a big step forward in improving transparency in the domestic market.

The final price a customer pays for electricity is made up of a large number of items - unit rate, standing charge, PSO levy, VAT and, in some cases, a prepayment service charge. With so many things to consider, it can be very difficult to make informed decisions, and the ESRI’s research confirms this.

Thanks to the CRU’s new regulation, it will be much harder for suppliers to spin their offers as better value than they actually are and to confuse consumers into making costly bad decisions.

Greater transparency in the electricity market will allow households to make informed decisions when choosing a supplier and, ultimately, to save money on their bills.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

Best Free Checking Account for 2018 - The Simple Dollar

Best Free Checking Account for 2018 - The Simple Dollar


The Simple Dollar

Free checking accounts used to be commonplace, but as banking has grown more sophisticated it's also gotten more expensive. The Internet, though, has made

Breaking up is easy with bonkers.ie

by @ bonkers.ie blog

One of the most inconvenient, needless to say, most boring parts of being an adult is having to take care of a litany of household bills that we’d rather not think about on a daily basis. In fact, the less time spent thinking about them the better!

At bonkers.ie we’re all about making things like switching consumer service providers to make sure you’re always on the best deal for you as easy and as hassle-free as possible!

In this article, we’ll give you a refresher on just how easy it is to use bonkers.ie to switch broadband, phone & TV providers, energy suppliers as well as mortgage lenders.

No one likes that awkward cancellation conversation. Compare providers and deals to find the best one for you, then let us take the wheel and do your breaking up for you!

#BreakUpsByBonkers

Broadband, Phone & TV  

Fed up with super slow broadband speeds when you’ve been advertised just the opposite?

Find you’re paying far too much for a landline connection you rarely use?

Looking to upgrade your TV package so you can kick back to some premiere live sports in the comfort of your own home rather than trekking down to the pub every time you want to watch a match?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it might be time to break up with your current provider and find a better deal.

On bonkers.ie you can compare all broadband, phone & TV deals including details of price plans, broadband download speeds, TV channel packages, landline packages, bundle options and any perks that come with a particular deal, across all major providers on the Irish market.

There is some great value to be found on the market right now, with both Virgin Media and Vodafone offering compelling January sale deals. Better hurry though, there’s just a week left to snap these offers up before they revert to standard pricing!

Gas & Electricity

If there’s any household utility you should make a habit of reviewing and switching every year it’s your household’s energy bills.

Why? Simple. It pays to do so!

Lots of people are unaware that in a pretty saturated market (Ireland now has a total of 10 energy suppliers to choose from) suppliers find themselves in a position where they need to offer enticing sign-up incentives in order to attract new customers and drive up the competition.

This is good news for customers because it means that if you shop around you more than likely will find some great discounted sign-up offers and these typically last for the duration of 12 months (also typically the standard length of a contract). These discounts make for some significant savings on your energy bills.  

In fact, you could make an average saving of €379 right now by switching your gas and electricity from standard rates to the cheapest deals currently on offer.

Mortgages

When we think about switching service providers, switching providers for something as big as a mortgage is not something that pops into mind straightaway and the exceptionally low figures for people carrying mortgage switches in Ireland reflect this mindset.

Though just 777 borrowers switched or remortgaged in the third quarter of 2017, it represents a 15% growth on the year and it’s expected that those figures are only going to grow in 2018.   

In fact, experts at MyMortgages.ie have predicted that switching will experience double-digit growth in the first six months of the year. This is because an increasing number of mortgage holders are becoming aware that switching to a lower rate can potentially save them thousands on the remainder of their loans!  

Check out this example to see what we mean:

A couple with €390,000 (LTV <80%) outstanding over 28 years on a 4% variable rate switched lenders to a 4 year fixed rate of 2.6% bringing monthly repayments down by €300, saving interest of €99,000 over the remaining term!

Like those figures? Why not compare mortgages right now and see how much you could save.

Looking for more info?

If you’d like to find out more about on any of our comparison services - which are not limited to those mentioned above but also cover health insurance, serious illness cover, personal loans, credit cards, prepaid cards and current accounts - you’ll find that each sector has its own dedicated price comparison calculator.

Additionally, we have a very active a thorough blog dedicated to providing coverage on changes in the markets we cover as well as advice and tips on how to save money.

Don’t forget to check out bonkers.ie TV too which also covers all of these topics in video form.

Finally, to make sure you never miss out on the latest personal finance news, you should follow us on social media. We’re very active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google Plus. You can contact us during business hours on any of these platforms and we’ll get back to you double quick!  

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

5 Money Books for Couples Looking to Become Financially Independent

by Elle Martinez @ Couple Money

Some of the best investments you can make with your marriage and money are books. A lot of couples hear about that. Maybe it’s retiring early maybe it’s just having […]

The post 5 Money Books for Couples Looking to Become Financially Independent appeared first on Couple Money.

Best Commission-Free Banks in Spain - Jean Galea

Best Commission-Free Banks in Spain - Jean Galea


Jean Galea

Upon moving to Spain one of the first things you need to do is open a bank account. You will need it for several things, most importantly for paying your monthly rent. A foreign bank account is not that useful in Spain as many institutions rely on direct debits to a local account. For example, …

Best Online Banks of 2018 - LendEDU

Best Online Banks of 2018 - LendEDU


LendEDU

Compare the best online banks to find your best fit. We've reviewed and rated the top 7 online banks for 2018 all in one place so you don't have to!

10 Banks That Do Not Use ChexSystems (2017 Edition) - Personal Finance Made Easy - Banking, Loans, Credit Card Advice | echeck.org

10 Banks That Do Not Use ChexSystems (2017 Edition) - Personal Finance Made Easy - Banking, Loans, Credit Card Advice | echeck.org


Personal Finance Made Easy - Banking, Loans, Credit Card Advice | echeck.org

ChexSystems, a company you’ve probably never heard about until you find your name in it. Then a nightmare begins where you are ousted from the banking system. Existing bank accounts are suddenly closed by your bank. Attempts at opening a new bank account at various national and local banks result in flat out rejections. Welcome …

How to Keep a Side Hustle and a Day Job Simultaneously

by Due.com @ Chime Banking

While it seems as if everyone is turning a side hustle into a full-time gig, the reality is not everyone wants to do that. Heck, not everyone even should do that! Contrary to how you may be feeling, it doesn’t make you any less of a business owner to keep your day job. That being said, you […]

The post How to Keep a Side Hustle and a Day Job Simultaneously appeared first on Chime Banking.

Your Beginner's Guide to Online Banking

Your Beginner's Guide to Online Banking


The Balance

Looking to do your banking on the web? These resources will teach you how to open bank accounts, use online bill pay and other services, and get loans online.

How to find the best bank account

How to find the best bank account


Houston Chronicle

A checking account and savings account are the most basic and common types of bank accounts and each serves a different purpose. Checking accounts provide easy daily access to money, whereas savings accounts provide higher interest and benefits for accumulating money. Checking accounts offer unlimited electronic transactions and transactions using checks and debit cards. Savings accounts, on the other hand, offer higher interest rates, but you can't use checks or debit cards to access the funds they hold and there's a legal limit of six transactions per statement cycle, typically a month. Depending on your lifestyle and occupation, an online bank and online account might make more sense for you; some of the best free checking accounts are at online banking institutions. Online banks usually offer you better interest rates and reduced fees because they don't pay the overhead associated with maintaining branches. GOBankingRates.com () is a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.

The Best Internet Service Providers

by Amanda Cole @ Reviews.com

How to Save Emailed Content to Pocket

by Jean @ Jean Galea

Pocket is one of my favorite tools for content consumption. Whenever I find great content online, I save it to Pocket and read it later. This could be during commutes or downtime while I’m waiting for something. The problem I had is that I receive lots of interesting content via email, and I needed a […]

The post How to Save Emailed Content to Pocket appeared first on Jean Galea.

The Summit Account | Aspiration

The Summit Account | Aspiration


Aspiration

With Summit you can earn more with a high interest rate, gain peace of mind with no monthly service fees and get free access to any ATM in the world.

The 6 Best Small Business Checking Accounts for 2018

The 6 Best Small Business Checking Accounts for 2018


Fit Small Business

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best small business checking account, including costs, terms, and physical locations. Take a look at how the best checking accounts compare for small businesses.

Cincinnati Federal Review: $250 Checking Account Bonus [OH Residents]

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Find the latest promotions and bonuses from Cincinnati Federal updated here. Offers have typically ranged from $150 to $250 in the past. Established in 1922 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Federal has 4 locations in the state. If you’re not an Ohio resident, use our Bank Bonuses page for other offers, including those from […]

The 7 Best National Banks In America for 2018

by Jeff Rose @ Good Financial Cents

Everyone needs a safe place to stash their money, instead of burying it in the backyard (or worse, under your mattress). If you're looking for a new bank, you have hundreds of options to choose from, but every year, it seems like there are more banks who enter the market. And we know, every bank... Continue Reading-->

The post The 7 Best National Banks In America for 2018 appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Chime Mobile Banking

Chime Mobile Banking


Chime Banking

Make the switch to the bank account that helps you save money, automatically. No monthly fees, no minimum balances, or overdraft fees.

Free Online Checking Accounts [Stop Paying Fees] | PT Money

Free Online Checking Accounts [Stop Paying Fees] | PT Money


PT Money

This is my master list of free online checking accounts. Get my top pick for the best free checking account. Checking should be free--no bank fees.

How to Earn Credit Card Points Through Shopping Portals

by Jeff Gitlen @ LendEDU

An increasing number of rewards club members are discovering the marvels of online shopping portals where they can pad their points and miles just for doing the shopping they do anyway. Most of the major credit card companies offer an online shopping portal or mall where cardholders can go to shop with popular merchants. Shoppers […]

The post How to Earn Credit Card Points Through Shopping Portals appeared first on LendEDU.

Star Trek: Discovery “Will you take my hand” review

by Adam Mathew @ finder.com.au

"Will You Take My Hand" is a no-frills full-stop to what's otherwise been some of the best sci-fi television in years.

Frequently Asked Questions - Bank of Internet USA

Frequently Asked Questions - Bank of Internet USA


Bank of Internet USA

Bank of Internet USA invites you to read answers to some of the questions most frequently asked about our innovative online banking products and services.

The Problem with Overdraft Fees

by Paul Sisolak @ Chime Banking

“Overdraft” is not a word we like to hear. Why? It generally means you’ll be dinged with a fee you don’t want to pay. To clarify, an overdraft fee occurs when you don’t have enough money in your bank account to pay for a purchase. When this happens, your bank will pay for the transaction […]

The post The Problem with Overdraft Fees appeared first on Chime Banking.

Bord Gáis Energy launches new bonkers.ie exclusive energy deals

by @ bonkers.ie blog

It’s been a rough couple of months for Irish consumers, with gas, electricity and broadband providers announcing price hikes right, left and centre, with many of these increases coming into effect just before Christmas last month. 

However, we've seen some value return to the energy market this month, as earlier this week both SSE Airtricity and Just Energy launched new discount offers and now Bord Gáis Energy has joined their ranks with some new special offers of its own. 

From today you’ll be able to save an average of €194.31 by switching your electricity bills or €288.05 by switching your gas and electricity to Bord Gáis Energy.  

Save €194 on electricity

Bord Gáis Energy is offering a 28% electricity discount to new customers who sign up via bonkers.ie from today. 

With the discount included, customers will pay 13.26 cent (inc. VAT) per kWh of electricity over the course of a 12-month contract. At this rate, customers with average consumption will spend about €810.93 on electricity over the course of the year, with all taxes and charges included.

That’s about €194 cheaper than typical standard rates and makes this deal from Bord Gáis Energy the cheapest on the market right now.

Save €254 on gas and electricity

If you decide to switch dual fuel, Bord Gáis Energy is offering a 31% electricity discount and an 18% gas discount to new customers who sign up via bonkers.ie.

With the discount included, customers will pay 12.70 cent (inc. VAT) per kWh of electricity and 4.776 cent per kWh of gas over the course of a 12-month contract.

On these rates, customers with average consumption will spend about €1,452.26 on gas and electricity over the course of the year, with all taxes and charges included, making this deal from Bord Gáis Energy the cheapest dual fuel offer on the market right now.

Time to switch? 

These are some great value offers from Bord Gáis Energy and if you haven't switched suppliers in the last year, it's definitely worth carrying out a quick comparison on bonkers.ie to find the best deal for you. Need more convincing? Check out the video below:

The switching process only takes a few minutes and you’ll only need three pieces of information to sign up; your MPRN and GPRN (which are written on your electricity and gas bills respectively) as well as a recent meter reading.

Don’t forget to compare all deals

If you are thinking of switching, be sure to compare all deals from all suppliers before you make any decisions to make sure that you’re getting the best deal for your own personal consumption habits.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

How to Determine the Best Time to Invest in Bitcoin

by Jessica Sommerfield @ MoneyNing

Try these tips for wise Bitcoin investing.

Metromile Insurance Review: Is It Legit?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Low-mileage drivers have a pay-as-you-go insurance option with Metromile. Available in 7 states, your premium is based on miles driven plus a base rate.

Metromile puts traditional car insurance to the test for low-mileage drivers. The company recognizes that low-mileage drivers overpay for car insurance. Their solution is a usage-based insurance. They quote drivers a base rate that they determine based on their driving record, type of car driven, and age of the car. This is similar to how other car insurance companies calculate your rate.

The base rate is the only fixed rate. You then pay a premium based on the miles driven. Metromile tracks the miles with their Pulse device, which you place in your car. Each month, Metromile reads the device and bills you for the miles driven.

Who Is Metromile Best For?

  • Occasional drivers: Driving fewer than 10,000 miles per year can provide substantial savings on this pay-as-you-go insurance. If you drive more than 10,000 miles, though, the per mile rate can add up.

  • Tech savvy drivers: Keeping track of your miles driven, gas mileage, or time spent driving is easy with this program. If you keep the GPS activated on the device, you can track your car (ever lost a parked car?) and even get alerts when something is wrong with your vehicle.

  • Drivers who can handle varying insurance bills: Your insurance bill will likely fluctuate from month to month. This means you have to be adaptable. If varying bills drive you crazy or if you are bad at budgeting, it could be hard to keep up with the constantly changing bills.

Why We Like Metromile

  • Rates not based on driving habits: Your rates are not based on how fast you drive or how hard you brake. You know your base rate and your per mile rate upfront. You can even keep track of your miles driven on the app, so you always know where you stand. You can minimize the unpleasant surprises monthly bills sometimes contain.

  • No penalty for occasionally driving more than 250 miles in a day: Driving more than 250 miles in a day won't result in any penalties or large bills. This benefits you if you hit that many miles sporadically, but if it's a regular habit, though, this might not be the right insurance for you.

  • Tech-savvy applications: Savings isn't the only thing Metromile offers. With the Pulse device, drivers can see their speed on trips, how much gas for the trip cost, and even where they parked their car.

  • Get alerts regarding your car's check engine light: The Metromile app helps you decode your check engine light. It also helps you find a mechanic to fix the problem.

  • Full coverage available: You can get as much coverage as you want or as little as your state requires. Metromile offers bodily injury, property damage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, personal injury protection, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

  • Roadside assistance available: If you are stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or broken down car, Metromile offers roadside assistance, such as towing, flat tire help, and lockout assistance. Each policy differs - you must inquire about the services that may pertain to you.

  • Pet protection available: Driving with pets can put them at risk for injury if you are in accident. You can add pet protection onto your insurance, giving you up to $1,000 coverage if your pet suffers injuries in the accident.

  • Privacy control: If privacy is a concern for you, it's possible to turn the GPS locator off the Pulse device. It won't provide you with any of the perks above, such as finding your parked car, but it will still give you the mileage tracker that helps you save on your car insurance.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Claims take a while to process: If there's one common theme about Metromile complaints, it's the speed at which they handle claims. You submit your claim online. Then you are at the mercy of the adjustor or customer service agent to call you when they get to your claim. This could mean waiting days or even weeks for a call back.

  • You drive more than 10,000 miles per year: You don't get to take advantage of the low mileage discount if you drive more than 10,000 miles per year. It might even cost you more to use Metromile if you are not well under the 10,000-mile average.

  • You are on a fixed income budget: Unless you drive the same number of miles every single month, which is unlikely, you'll have varying insurance bills. If you prefer fixed bills that you can predict each month, the pay-for-what-you-drive plan may not be a good fit.

Customer Service

Being just a few years old, Metromile is still trying to figure out the perfect way to handle customer service.

They do offer 24/7 claims service. But this basically means you can file your claim 24/7. You may not hear back from an agent for a while. When they do help you, though, Metromile provides you with a dedicated claims professional who will help you through the claim process. They also help you find repair shops near you to speed up the process.

Recently, Metromile introduced automated claims processing. Not only can you file your claim online, but you can also upload the data from your Pulse device to help process the claim. Metromile states that some claims can even be handled automatically, getting you payment right away. We tend to think this is reserved for very minor claims, but it's a nice feature nonetheless.

Customer Service Phone Number: 1-888-242-5204

Dashboard

Drivers can access information about their driving habits, including miles driven, the cost of routes taken, and gas mileage online. All you need is your ID and password to gain access to this information. Basically, the dashboard provides you with ways to save money. It does not, however, give you any feedback on your driving habits. If money is your main concern, the dashboard serves its purpose. If you want to lower your insurance rates based on your driving habits, you'll need to look elsewhere.

App

The Metromile app does many of the same things as the dashboard. The difference is you have access to the information on-the-go. The app takes things a step further though. It will tell you:

  • Your car's health status
  • Decode any check engine light warnings
  • Send alerts when street sweepers are cleaning the street you are parked on (certain cities only)

How It Compares

Low-cost insurance is something many drivers want. Perhaps Metromile's largest competitor in that arena is Geico. Known for its rock-bottom prices for standard insurance, Geico is a fierce competitor. It's not a pay-as-you-go policy, though. You pay the same premium every month based on your individual factors. But those rates are among the lowest in the industry.

Unlike Metromile, Geico offers discounts for various things aside from the multi-vehicle discount, such as:

  • Safety features on your vehicle
  • Good driving habits
  • Defensive driving classes
  • Customer loyalty

Geico is also available in all 50 states, whereas Metromile is still only available in 7 states. Metromile does have a "waiting list" on their website that you can sign up for. You will then be alerted when the insurance is available in your area.

Geico has been around for 80 years and Metromile is still in its infancy, barely hitting 5 years on the market.

If saving money is your main concern, Geico takes the cake for high-mileage drivers and Metromile has a slight edge for low-mileage drivers, assuming you aren't eligible for many other discounts.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, if you don't drive often, Metromile may save you money every month. City dwellers who drive only a few miles at a time see the greatest results. Metromile makes it very convenient to use their insurance and service with one simple device to plug into your car.

We suggest determining how many miles you drive on average per year and compare your cost with standard insurance policies. If you are close to the 10,000-mile threshold, you may want to consider other options. If you are on the other spectrum, though, paying only for what you use could come in handy.

Metromile Insurance Review: Is It Legit? appeared first on CreditDonkey

H&R Block Tax Software 2018 Review

by Michael Pruser @ PT Money

H&R Block is one of the biggest names in tax preparation, responsible for preparing a whopping 1 out of every 7 tax returns that are filed in the United States. Their huge command of the market is due to the fact that they have both 10,000 physical branches all around the U.S., as well as […]

The post H&R Block Tax Software 2018 Review appeared first on PT Money.

How to Work in the Gig Economy and Still Reach Your Money Goals

by Colin Ashby @ Chime Banking

Working in the gig economy offers some great perks. For starters, you get the flexibility of setting your own hours. Plus, you can often find gigs instantly using an app rather than prospecting new work yourself. Nearly one in four Americans have earned money in the gig or “platform economy” over the last year, according to Pew […]

The post How to Work in the Gig Economy and Still Reach Your Money Goals appeared first on Chime Banking.

Things to See & Do in Istanbul in 2 Days

Things to See & Do in Istanbul in 2 Days

by Spotahome @ The Spotahome Blog

A perfect mix of cultures. It's the only city to have been the capital city for 3 different empires. Read on to find the best things to do in Istanbul...

10 Best Financial Advisors & Wealth Management Firms in Houston, TX | 2018 Ranking

by AdvisoryHQ Ranking Team @ AdvisoryHQ

RANKING & REVIEWS BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN HOUSTON, TX 2018 Ranking: Top Financial Advisory Firms in Houston, Texas If what they say is true, and everything really is bigger in Texas, you should easily be able to find bigger and better financial advisors in Houston, right? Well, if you came to this page looking for one […]

Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

Fixed 2% mortgage rates on the way for some first-time buyers

by @ bonkers.ie blog

The challenges facing Ireland’s first-time buyers are well-documented.

Rents are at an all-time high, house prices are up 9.2% year on year and the banks still require a minimum deposit of 10% from first-time buyers looking to get on the property ladder.

Coupled with a chronic housing shortage, these conditions have created a perfect storm of barriers for prospective buyers.

To help make housing more accessible, the Government recently renewed its commitment to the Help-To-Buy Scheme and has now launched a new initiative, designed to help certain first-time buyers who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to make that elusive house purchase.

What are the details of the new scheme?

From February 1st, first-time buyers who meet certain criteria (detailed below) will be able to apply for a Government-funded Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan from a local authority.

The Government has committed €200 million to the scheme for 2018. If it’s successful, this amount could be increased next year.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To qualify, first-time buyers must have a gross annual income of €40,000 or less; couples applying together must earn must earn €75,000 or less.

Applicants must also have had mortgage applications rejected or been offered a loan that wasn’t large enough to make a purchase on at least two occasions.

What type of property can be purchased with a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan?

Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans can be put towards new builds, second-hand homes and self-builds.

Houses with a value of up to €320,000 in the greater Dublin area, Cork and Galway can be purchased under the scheme. In all other parts of the country, values are capped at €250,000.

The Central Bank’s loan-to-value ratio rule still applies, meaning that first-time buyers must provide a deposit of 10% when making a purchase.

What mortgage rates are available?

Mortgage rates of as little as 2% to 2.25% are available with a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

Significantly, these rates are fixed for 25 to 30 years, giving certainty and peace of mind to borrowers.

These rates will be the lowest first-time buyer rates available on the Irish market by some margin.

How do Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan rates compare to the banks’ best rates?

Ireland’s mortgage rates are still among the highest in the EU, despite cuts from most leading lenders in 2017.

The best first-time buyer rate available at the moment is 3.15%. So, a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan will be significantly cheaper over the lifetime of a mortgage.

Take a first-time buyer looking to buy a house in Dublin for €320,000, for example. Let’s say she/he has the requisite 10% deposit (€32,000) and is looking to borrow the remainder; €288,000.

With a repayment rate of 3.15%, her/his monthly repayments will be €1,388 every month. Over 25 years, that’s a total of around €416,000.

With a fixed rate of 2%, however, a mortgage for the same property would cost €1,220 every month, or about €366,000 over 25 years. That’s over €50,000 cheaper.

How can I apply?

The Government's new scheme will launch on February 1st when rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie goes live.

First-time buyers who don’t qualify for a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan should compare mortgage rates from Ireland’s leading lenders to find the best rates available.

Pressure on the banks

This latest attempt by the Government to tackle Ireland's housing issues is unlikely to solve the fundamental problems of low supply and pent-up demand, but it should significantly help a select group of first-time buyers.

The greatest impact of the initiative could be the pressure it puts on Ireland's leading lenders. Borrowers across the country will rightfully wonder why it is feasible for the Government to fund loans at 2% over 25 years, at a time when traditional lenders still seem reluctant to offer sub-3% loans to anyone.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

16 Best Free Business Checking Accounts in 2018 - LendGenius

16 Best Free Business Checking Accounts in 2018 - LendGenius


LendGenius

Many of your business activities are affected by whether or not you have a free business checking account. How much money you’re able to spend, how easy it is to withdraw cash when you need it, and how much in fees you have to pay to do any of this is all determined by the …

Top U.S. Travel Bank Accounts That Ideal For Travelers

Top U.S. Travel Bank Accounts That Ideal For Travelers


The Thought Card

Top three U.S. online banks for travelers - avoid ATM fees and foreign transaction fees with a better banking solution.

Navy Federal Credit Union Review

by Jeff Rose @ Good Financial Cents

You probably won't be surprised to hear there are over 6,000 banks and another 6,000 credit unions in the United States. You can't drive down the road without passing at least a dozen different banks. If you're looking for a new bank, it can be an overwhelming search. Each bank or credit union is going... Continue Reading-->

The post Navy Federal Credit Union Review appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Capital One Credit Card Offers

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Anna G) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Capital One is offering lucrative promotions for new credit card applicants. Which deal is right for you? Read this in-depth guide.

Capital One credit cards don't seem to get as much attention as other cards. But there are some excellent promotional bonus offers. And Capital One has an option for almost everyone, no matter what your credit is.

Capital One Promotions

Read on for the list of current card promotions for new applicants. Apply for a new Capital One credit card from this list and make the qualifying purchases within the specified timeframe to get the bonus promotion.

Tip: Have an existing balance to transfer? Read this Capital One balance transfer guide before you apply.

Cash Rewards Cards

Travel Reward Cards

Fair/Limited Credit

Bad/Limited Credit

Student Credit Card

In-Depth Guide to Capital One Credit Cards

Which Capital One Deal Is Right for You?

To pick the right card for you, consider the following factors:

  • Your credit score: The good thing about Capital One is that they offer credit cards for a range of credit scores. Your credit score will largely determine what card you're able to quality for. Below, we tell you the credit qualification for each card.

  • Annual fee: How often will you use your new Capital One card? Cards with annual fees usually offer more rewards or benefits. But before you apply for the credit card, think: will you realistically earn enough in rewards to make up for the expense?

  • Cash back vs travel miles: Cash back will allow you to use the rewards however you like. But if you like to travel, Capital One's travel reward cards allow you to earn miles for travel purchases and offer great travel benefits.

Tip: One thing we really applaud Capital One for is that they NEVER charge a foreign transaction fee. Many other banks charge a 3% fee for purchases made outside of the US. Capital One does not do this, so you can travel abroad with any of their cards.

Capital One Credit Card Offers for New Applicants

New Application: Before you apply for a new Capital One card, here are some things you need to know.

  • You can see which cards you're pre-approved for on Capital One's website.
  • You can only have 2 personal Capital One cards at a time.
  • You will not be matched to a higher bonus if a better offer comes along after your application. Make sure you're applying when the bonus is the biggest.
  • Capital One business cards do show up on your personal credit report as well.
  • Capital One does a hard pull from all 3 credit bureaus when reviewing your application.

We'll make your decision simpler with side-by-side Capital One offers comparisons below.

Earn Cash Back: Capital One Quicksilver Cards

If you'd prefer cash back, Capital One has two options: Quicksilver and Quicksilver One.

Both cards offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The difference is that they cater to people with different credit ranges.

  • Capital One Quicksilver (read review) is for those with excellent credit. It has a sign-up bonus of $150 if you spend $500 within three months of account opening. It also has a 9-month, 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers (after that, variable APR is 14.24% to 24.24%).

  • In comparison, Capital One QuicksilverOne is for those with fair/average credit. It has no sign-up bonus and no intro APR. There is an annual fee of $39. But it's rare to find a reward card for those with fair credit. You can also get a higher credit line after making 5 monthly payments on time.

    To make up for the $39 annual fee, you would have to spend at least $2,600 in a year ($217/month) on your card. With 1.5% cash back on every purchase, that would equal $39, breaking even.

Travel Rewards Promotions: Venture Cards

If you like to travel, consider one of Capital One's travel reward cards. You earn "miles" that you can use towards any travel purchase on your statement.

Capital One offers two travel reward cards: Venture and VentureOne. Both give you travel miles, but one has more rewards and an annual fee.

  • Capital One Venture (read review) offers 2x miles on all purchases. You get 50,000 bonus miles (equals $500) if you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. There is a $95 annual fee.

  • Capital One VentureOne has no annual fee, but offers less rewards. You get 1.25x miles on all purchases. You get 20,000 bonus miles (equals $200) if you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Another advantage is that it has an intro APR on purchases.

You generally need excellent credit for these travel reward cards.

Tip: Even though the Venture has a $95 annual fee, the much higher bonus and earning power will make it more valuable if you travel often. You will earn more rewards if you spend at least $12,667 a year ($1,056/month) on your card.

If you don't travel often, then consider whether a cash back card (like the Quicksilver) is better since it has no annual fee and gives you 1.5% back (instead of just 1.25x for the VentureOne).

Capital One for Students

Capital One offers the Journey Student Rewards credit card for college students. Having a card in college is great for building credit and covering necessities and emergencies.

It offers 1% cash back on all purchases. And if you pay on time, you can get a total of 1.25% back for the month. This teaches college students to be financially responsible early on.

It has no annual fee. You don't need to have prior credit history, but you may need a cosigner.

Capital One for Limited Credit

If your credit score is less than stellar, there are a couple of options for you too.

  • Capital One Platinum is for those with fair or limited credit. It's usually hard to get a credit card with no annual fee when you have lower credit. So it's great that Capital One provides this option. There are no rewards, though. You can get a higher credit limit if you make 5 monthly payments on time.

  • Capital One Secured may be your only option if you have bad or no credit at all. You need to put down a cash deposit, which becomes the "security." The good thing about Capital One's Secured card is that you may qualify for a higher credit line than your deposit. Depending on your credit history, you may only need to put down a $49 deposit to receive a $200 credit line.

    If you make 5 monthly payments on time, you can get a higher credit line with no additional deposit. There is no annual fee.

Capital One for Small Business

You don't have to be a large corporation to get a business credit card from Capital One. Are you a freelancer? Do you have a side gig?

You spend a lot of money running your business. Why not take advantage of that spend?

Capital One offers several small business cards for cash back and travel miles. Read on for the latest Capital One business credit card promotions.

Business Credit Cards with Cash Back

The Spark Cash has a lot larger bonus and you get more back for each dollar you spend. It's the better choice if your business spends more than $19,000 a year ($1,584/month). You will earn more net cash back even after the $95 annual fee.

If your business is new, you may like the no-annual-fee Spark Cash Select. It has a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months (after that, variable APR is 14.24% to 22.24%), which is great if you don't yet have steady cash flow.

Do you have average credit? Capital One also has the Spark Classic for business owners with lower credit scores. You get 1% cash back on all purchases and there is no annual fee.

Business Travel Rewards

If your business has travel needs, consider one of these travel reward cards instead. Remember, you don't exactly get "miles" to use with airlines. They're more like general travel points that you can apply toward any travel purchase on your statement (flights, hotels, car rentals, taxis, etc.).

Just like their cashback cousins, the Spark Miles is better if your business has higher expenses, while the Miles Select is better for new businesses.

Sign-up Bonus: Making Your Choice

Hopefully, certain bonuses stuck out for you as you looked down this list. Which card is the best fit for you depends on your spending patterns and what you hope to get out of your credit card. As with any credit decision, research is important to make sure you pick the card that's best for your specific financial situation.

Remember: as with all credit card and bank offers, terms and limitations apply.

Capital One Credit Card Offers appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Capital One. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Capital One.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business, Capital One® Platinum Credit Card, and Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Free Online Checking Accounts - Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To

Free Online Checking Accounts - Why Pay More Fees Than You Have To


Free From Broke

Sick of paying crazy fees for your checking account? Take a look at these free online checking accounts and find the best checking account for you.

Best Bank Accounts for Expats in Germany

Best Bank Accounts for Expats in Germany


The Spotahome Blog

Whether it is for work or to study, relocating to Germany can be exciting! However, setting up your bank account may seem like quite a challenge with over 2, 500 commercial banking institutions to choose from! While the options for foreigners may be somewhat limited, Germany does offer a good

TFSA vs RRSP: Head to Head Comparison – Updated 2018

by Young @ Young And Thrifty

There has been a lot of talk about which one is better, the TFSA vs RRSP in both the PF blogosphere and the media.  Both are great savings and investing tools for us Canadians, but there are important differences between and choosing correctly between the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)…

TFSA vs RRSP: Head to Head Comparison – Updated 2018 first appeared on Young And Thrifty

Which Australian Banks Offer Android Pay?

by Regina Collins @ Online Banking – Canstar

Initially announced by Google in March 2016, Android Pay was officially launched in the US in May 2016, and in Australia in July 2016. It is today used in roughly 700,000 stores across the country. After previous failed attempts to enter the mobile payments market, Google saw Android Pay as a crucial step in gaining … Continued

The post Which Australian Banks Offer Android Pay? appeared first on Canstar.

Westpac launches iMessage payments on Apple iPhone

by Ellie McLachlan @ Online Banking – Canstar

In a first for Australian banking, the new capability offers Westpac customers a shortcut to access banking services while texting contacts on their iPhone. This follows a big week of digital innovation from Westpac, having also announced customers will be able to check their personal finances with voice technology on the Amazon Echo. The iMessage … Continued

The post Westpac launches iMessage payments on Apple iPhone appeared first on Canstar.

ANZ First Big Bank With Voice ID For Mobile Banking

by Ellie McLachlan @ Online Banking – Canstar

Today ANZ announced the launch of Voice ID-activated payments, developed in conjunction with world-leading biometrics company Nuance. According to the big bank, ANZ customers can now make ‘Pay Anyone’ payments of over $1,000 on their mobile without logging into internet banking, remembering additional passwords and PINs or visiting a branch. Customers will also be able … Continued

The post ANZ First Big Bank With Voice ID For Mobile Banking appeared first on Canstar.

Current High-Yield Online Savings Account Rates

Current High-Yield Online Savings Account Rates


fivecentnickel.com

We maintain a list of the best high yield savings account interest rates. These rates come from online banks such as Ally and Barclays, all FDIC insured.

Goldman Sachs Eyes Buying Personal Finance Startup Clarity

by Mike Brown @ LendEDU

Goldman Sachs, whose building (left) highlights the Jersey City skyline, is in talks to buy personal finance startup Clarity Money. Insiders say Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is eyeing the possibility of buying Clarity Money, a personal finance startup. Those unidentified sources said Goldman Sachs intends to mesh it with Marcus, its online personal loan lender.Although a […]

The post Goldman Sachs Eyes Buying Personal Finance Startup Clarity appeared first on LendEDU.

ANZ announces Garmin Pay partnership

by William Jolly @ Online Banking – Canstar

ANZ customers will now be able to load their credit and debit cards on the Garmin app and use their Garmin smartwatch to make purchases anywhere they go without having to take out a wallet or phone. ANZ’s Managing Director of Products, Bob Belan, was excited to announce the latest partnership today. “At ANZ we … Continued

The post ANZ announces Garmin Pay partnership appeared first on Canstar.

Discover Bank Review: CD Rates and Savings

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Lee M) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Discover offers high interest rates on its online savings and CD accounts. But there are some downsides. Here's what you need to know before you open an account.

Traditional savings accounts pay very little interest. If you want to earn a more impactful return on your savings, online banks often offer higher rates.

In this article, we will look at how you can use Discover's Online Savings Accounts and CDs to help grow your savings.

How It Works

Discover offers high yield savings accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Both earn a higher interest rate than a typical savings account. However, the two products work in fundamentally different ways.

  • Discovers Online Savings Accounts can earn up to a 1.40% annual percentage yield (APY). They work much like typical savings accounts, except that Discover does not have any physical branch locations.

  • Discover's CDs require you to deposit your savings for a set period of time. Withdrawing funds from a CD before the term has ended will incur a penalty. Also, CDs often have a higher minimum deposit than savings accounts. Due to these requirements, some CDs earn a higher APY than savings accounts.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the specifics.

Discover Bank Promotions: February 2018

Online Investor Savings

Discover is an online bank, so they don't have many of the overhead costs that brick-and-mortar banks do. This allows Discover to offer no minimum deposit and a high APY on its Online Savings Account. Here are some additional details:

  • 1.40% APY
  • No minimum deposit
  • No account opening fees
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Daily compounding interest
  • Free online and mobile banking
  • FDIC insured

As with any savings account, you'll be limited to 6 withdrawals per month. This is a federally-imposed limitation.

If you need to withdraw money from your Discover savings account, you have a few options: internal Discover transfers, external transfers to another bank, wire transfers, and mailed checks.

Is Discover Safe?: Discover is FDIC insured. This means that if Discover defaults, the federal government guarantees the balance in your savings account, up to $250,000.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

For CDs, you must deposit a fixed amount of money for a fixed amount of time.

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding on a CD: the term length, the minimum deposit, and the APY. Discover also offers some retirement account qualified CDs, which can be a good option to supplement your retirement savings. Contact your financial professional to see if these retirement options are right for you.

Here are your options:

  • Term CDs: Discover's basic CDs are available in 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 30 months, and 3-, 4-, 5, 7- or 10-year terms. They require a minimum deposit of $2,500, and their APY range from .35% to 2.45%.

  • IRA CDs: Discover offers a retirement account qualified CD option as well, if you qualify. Both Roth (post-tax) and Traditional (pre-tax) options are offered. Terms and APY of these products are similar to that of Discover’s term CDs.

Why We Like Discover

Here are a few things that we like about Discover's online savings accounts and CDs:

  • Low minimum deposits: If you have just started saving or want to set aside a small balance, Discover can be a great choice. Their Online Savings have no minimum balance requirements at all. Their deposits for term CDs and IRA CDs are some of the lowest in the industry.

  • High rates: Discover's Online Savings offers such a high APY that it outperforms some of their short-term CDs. This is great news for anyone looking to save, but especially for those who can't pay the high minimum deposits that some other banks require. And if you meet a higher minimum deposit, you can earn as much as 2.45% APY on a CD, depending on term length.

  • Minimal fees: Discover cuts out many fees that other banks profit from. For example, you will not be charged any account opening or maintenance fees.

  • Retirement options: Discover offers IRA CDs, which can be utilized in a retirement planning strategy.

Reasons You Might Skip Discover Savings

For all of Discover's advantages, there are some downsides that need to be considered:

  • No branch locations: In exchange for the high interest rate on your online savings account, you are required to do your Discover banking online or over the phone.

  • No ATM card: Discover Savings does not provide an ATM card for easy withdrawals. This could be a good thing so you’re not tempted to spend your money. But if you like that convenience, look into their Money Market account instead. Or there are some other online savings accounts that come with an ATM card.

  • No Relationship Rewards: Some retail banks in the U.S. are now offering relationship bonuses to incentivize their customers to keep all of their business in one place. If you move your savings balance to Discover from your retail bank, you may miss out on some of these relationship bonuses. Contact your bank for more details.

Common Questions

If you're still interested, you probably have some questions. We'll clear up some of the basics here:

  • Should I open a CD or savings account?
    This is a really broad question and everyone has different investment goals. The decision comes down to how much you're looking to set aside, how much risk you are willing to take, and how much you'll need to access your savings.

    If you can commit to not touching your savings for at least 1 year and can meet the minimum deposit, you may be able to earn a higher interest rate with a CD versus a savings account. If you need liquidity, a savings account gives you more flexibility to withdraw your savings when needed.

  • How can I deposit funds with Discover Bank?
    For savings accounts, there are a few ways to deposit funds: deposit checks with your mobile device, transfer from Discover checking, transfer from an external account, mail a check, or set up a direct deposit to your new account. For term CDs, you can transfer from Discover checking, transfer from an external account, transfer by phone, or mail a check. For IRA CDs, contact Discover for instructions on how to fund a Discover IRA account.

  • What is the penalty for early withdrawals from Term CDs?
    It depends on the term of your CD. Here's how it breaks down:

    • Terms less than 1 year: 3 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms from 1 year to <4 years: 6 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 4 years to <5 years: 9 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 5 years to <7 years: 18 months' interest on the amount withdrawn
    • Terms over 7 years and greater: 24 months' interest on the amount withdrawn

Bottom Line

If you're ready to start building your savings, then you should consider if Discover's Online Savings Accounts or CDs are right for you.

Even if you only have $1 in savings, you can start earning interest in a high yield savings account. Or, if you have at least $2,500 set aside and aren't concerned about liquidity, you can earn an even greater return with a CD.

Discover's savings offerings might not be the right savings product for you, but if you're looking to earn interest above that of a standard savings account, opening a savings accounts or CD from Discover is an investment option worth considering.

Discover Bank Review: CD Rates and Savings appeared first on CreditDonkey

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

The Best Personal Finance Software for Taming Your Budget (In 2018)

by Emily Guy Birken @ PT Money

Pluto LogoManaging your money is a complex skill, especially now that you no longer have to leave the house or even pull out your wallet in order to spend money. That’s why it is more important than ever for you to track spending and stick to a budget. But the old school methods of budgeting […]

The post The Best Personal Finance Software for Taming Your Budget (In 2018) appeared first on PT Money.

LifeLock Review: Is It Worth It?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Protecting yourself against identity theft seems like it's worth its weight in gold. Do you really get as much protection as you think with services like LifeLock? Find out below.

Last year more than 143 million people had their personal information exposed during the Equifax hack. This demonstrates just one of the thousands of security breaches that happen each year. LifeLock claims to protect your identity from these types of incidents beyond what a basic credit freeze offers.

LifeLock claims to monitor more than just your credit. They monitor the dark web, unauthorized address changes, online scams, and public records. The depth of the monitoring you get depends on the chosen plan. LifeLock also offers identity theft restoration services and 24-hour customer service.

With a LifeLock membership, you can monitor one driver's license number and Social Security number. But you can monitor up to 10 credit cards and/or bank accounts. You may also enter up to five home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Who Is LifeLock Best For?

  • If you are at high risk for identity theft: Consumers who aren't proactive in their attempts to protect identity theft may benefit from the service. While LifeLock can't prevent identity theft, it can alert members of a breach. Think of it like an alarm system. The crime has been committed, but now you can attempt to minimize the damages.

  • If you don't know how to recover from identity theft: Identity theft is overwhelming. Victims must take several steps to stop the perpetrator from doing more damage. There could also be damages that must be undone, such as unauthorized accounts opened in their name or fraudulent use of medical insurance/benefits. LifeLock's bread and butter is their restoration services, helping victims put their lives back together.

  • If you don't regularly check your credit and/or financial accounts: Checking your credit reports, monitoring bank statements, and watching your credit card accounts is time-consuming. If you aren't vigilant about watching these accounts, LifeLock may give you a little peace of mind knowing you may receive an alert if something is amiss.

Why We Like LifeLock

  • Learn of a breach early: There's no foolproof way to prevent identity theft or fraud. What LifeLock offers, though, is quick notification of certain adverse actions on your accounts. This gives you the chance to try to minimize the damages before they get out of hand.

  • Restoration services help repair the damage: After you experience identity theft or fraudulent account activity, LifeLock's agents offer their services in fixing the problem. They may not be able to fix everything, but having their expertise on your side may help.

  • Reimbursement for loss funds: Each of LifeLock's plans offer coverage, similar to an insurance policy for lost or stolen funds. However, their reimbursement is subject to many restrictions, especially if another insurance policy or financial institution will cover the loss.

  • User-friendly platform and app: Members can access the LifeLock member portal on their PC, laptop, or mobile device. In the platform, members have access to their account information as well as all alerts, whether critical or non-critical. Members can view the alerts at their leisure and determine what/if anything they must do.

  • Multiple alert options: LifeLock offers several alert options to make sure you are aware of a potential situation. They offer alerts via phone, email, and text. You can also customize the alerts you receive, changing thresholds for various accounts based on your needs.

  • 24/7 customer service 365 days a year: LifeLock representatives are available for questions and concerns 24/7 every day of the year. However, any restoration services are only available during business hours.

  • Lost Wallet Protection: Losing your purse or wallet may put you at risk for identity theft and/or credit card fraud. LifeLock offers assistance in handling the tasks necessary to stop anyone from using the lost information. They include this service in all 3 plans.

  • Scans a trillion data points regularly: LifeLock claims to scan a trillion data points daily. The exact data points they scan will determine how well it protects you. However, it's likely more than you would scan yourself, and even a small bit of protection may help.

  • Monitors accounts rather than freezes them: A credit freeze prevents thieves from accessing your credit information moving forward. If you were already hacked, though, the criminals have what they need. Monitoring may help alert you of any new activity even after you freeze your credit.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

  • Only one credit bureau monitored with the first two plans: You have to pony up and pay for the most expensive plan to get monitoring of all three credit bureaus. Since not all companies report to all three bureaus, you may not have the protection you need.

  • Limited coverage guarantee: Despite their million dollar coverage guarantee, there are many limitations. If your identity is stolen or accounts hacked into, it must be due to some failure or defect on LifeLock's behalf for the guarantee to take effect. If LifeLock did what they promised and you still got hacked, the guarantee may not apply.

  • No family plan: If you want to protect more than one family member, such as a spouse or child, you have to pay for separate plans. This could get costly depending on how many family members you want to protect.

Plans

All plans include the following:

  • Dark web monitoring
  • LifeLock Privacy Monitor
  • Notification of unauthorized address changes
  • Lost Wallet Protection
  • Alerts for Social Security number breaches

In addition to the basic features, LifeLock has three tiers to choose from:

  • LifeLock Standard: As the cheapest plan available, this plan monitors one credit bureau and provides up to $25,000 reimbursement for stolen funds.

  • LifeLock Advantage: The mid-plan still only monitors one credit bureau, but they also provide the credit score from that bureau. It also offers bank account and credit card monitoring and notifications of data breaches. LifeLock will also provide crime reports for your area and report on any fictitious identity issues.

  • LifeLock Ultimate Plus: The largest plan offered provides all of the above benefits, plus monitoring of all three credit bureaus with credit scores. You may also request monthly credit scores from one credit bureau; however, it is the Vantage 3.0 score, not FICO. You can also opt to have certain investment accounts monitored and receive alerts of bank account takeovers. LifeLock also provides priority customer service for Ultimate Plus members.

Keep in mind: LifeLock does not do business with all banks, credit card companies, or financial institutions. Their scans may miss issues with specific companies if they are not within the LifeLock network.

Customer Service

LifeLock's customer service seems to be where they shine. With accessibility around-the-clock, either on the phone or online chat, customers can ask questions and address concerns any time of day or night. If you experienced identity theft of credit card fraud, you'll need to wait until business hours to secure any restoration services, though. Chances are this is due to the representative's need for access to the bank and credit card companies that operate during business hours.

LifeLock also offers a breadth of customer service options online. Their member portal is user friendly and provides all up-to-date information about your account statuses. Their website also offers a multitude of resources that may either answer your question or help you figure out what to do next.

Customer Service Phone Number: 1-800-416-0599

How to cancel: If you obtained your LifeLock service directly from LifeLock, call 1-800-LIFELOCK (543-3562). You can also cancel via your member portal. If you obtained the service through a third-party, you must contact the third-party to cancel.

How It Compares

  • Identity Guard: With Identity Guard, you get basic identity protection with the exception of driver's license number monitoring. They offer a breadth of services that monitor what happens on your accounts, but they lack the restoration services needed to pick up the pieces. Their customer service is more of an "advice line" than professionals fixing the problem.

  • ID Shield: With ID Shield, you get a $5 million guarantee if your identity is stolen, and you can monitor up to 2 adults and 8 children on one plan. However, they only monitor one credit bureau (TransUnion), no matter which plan you choose. In the event that your identity is stolen; however, you have access to private investigators who also help you restore your identity and/or accounts.

  • IdentityForce: With IdentityForce, you get more than financial protection. They monitor social media sites, blogs, and court records too. Their most basic plan includes most everything LifeLock's most expensive plan offers. However, they do not offer a family plan.

Bottom Line

So is LifeLock worth it?

If you are willing to pay for credit monitoring because you won't do it yourself, it may give you a little more protection against identity theft. Keep in mind that there's no way to completely prevent someone from stealing all or part of your identity. If you are not proactive in keeping your passwords secure and monitoring your accounts on a regular basis, it might be worth the peace of mind to know when something is amiss.

LifeLock Review: Is It Worth It? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Newtown Savings Bank $100 Checking Bonus [CT Residents]

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Find updated Newtown Savings Bank promotions and bonuses at this page. Typical bonuses have been for $100, $150 and $200. Established in 1855 and headquartered in Newtown, Connecticut, Newtown Savings Bank has nearly 20 locations throughout the state. If you’re not a CT resident, head on over to our Bank Bonuses page for more suitable […]

New report: The 3 best SUVs under $30,000

New report: The 3 best SUVs under $30,000

by Mike Timmermann @ clark.com

If you're shopping for a new vehicle soon, Consumer Reports is out with a list of the best SUVs on the market in 2018.

The 6 Best Credit Cards for Business Expenses, No Matter What You Spend On

by Brayden McCarthy @ Fundera Ledger

Very few things are certain in small business finance, except that no two businesses’ balance sheets are identical. And since […]

The post The 6 Best Credit Cards for Business Expenses, No Matter What You Spend On appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

How to Apply for a Business Credit Card Online

by Brayden McCarthy @ Fundera Ledger

It’s easy to think that applying for a business credit card online is super simple. After all, with all of […]

The post How to Apply for a Business Credit Card Online appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

Best Savings Accounts And High Yield Rates February 2018

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Do you need to find out which bank has the best Savings Account rates? Or, how about which has the best Money Market interest rates? Maybe you need a quick overview of the differences between the two types of interest-earning accounts to begin with. We’ll go over all of these questions and help you find the best […]

The Best Whole Life Insurance Company

by Philip Palermo @ Reviews.com

Online Savings Account  - High Interest & No Monthly Fees | Discover

Online Savings Account - High Interest & No Monthly Fees | Discover


Discover Bank

Online Savings Accounts from Discover Bank, Member FDIC offer high yield interest rates with no monthly balance requirements and no monthly fees.

Best Online Banks of 2018

Best Online Banks of 2018


The Dough Roller

List of the best online banks for CDs, checking, savings, and money market accounts. Rankings best of interest rates and fees.

eir extends 12-month discount offers deadline

by @ bonkers.ie blog

eir has extended the deadline for introductory 12 month discounts on certain bundles, meaning you can make significant savings across dual, triple and quad play deals if you snap them up in time! Let’s take a look at the deals in question.

Dualplay: eir Superfast broadband, Unlimited Mobile & UK Calls

For customers looking for a great broadband and home phone package, this could be the perfect fit.

This competitive dualplay deal is now available to new customers for as little as €40 per month for the first 12 months, rising to €76 per month thereafter.

This shows a total saving of €462 for the first year of your contract.

Tripleplay with TV: eir Vision TV Essential, Broadband, Unlimited Mobile & UK Calls

If you’re in the market for a great new tripleplay deal, you can’t really go wrong with introductory rates like these.

New customers signing up to this tripleplay bundle can expect to pay €45 per month for the first 12 months, rising to €91 per month thereafter.

This makes for a saving of €522 in the first year of your 18 month contract. 

Looking for mobile too?

The value doesn’t end there, however, as customers looking for a bundle that includes mobile in the offering are also looked after.

Customers looking for tripleplay bundles that include mobile rather than TV or indeed quadplay bundles that include all four elements (broadband, home phone, TV and mobile) can also expect 12 month price discounts.

FREE access to eir Sport

Don't forget that customers who sign up to any eir deal also get free access to eir Sport - eir's premium seven channel sports package! 

Is it time to sign up with a new provider?

In the last few months of 2017, we saw all four of Ireland’s biggest broadband providers announce unwelcome price increases but it’s great to see eir compensating by offering such competitive deals to new customers. 

But remember these deals won't last! These discounts will only be available to those who sign up to eir before the 14th of February, 2018. 

If you’re thinking of switching providers to find a more competitive deal, make sure to compare all deals across all providers using our price comparison calculator to ensure that you’re getting the very best value for money.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

Why Zipcar Might Just Be the Best Subscription Service Ever

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Jake Mitchell) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

As a resident of Los Angeles, I am intimately familiar with all of the worst parts of owning a car: the cost of repairs and insurance, the late-night hunts for the cheapest gas at out-of-the-way filling stations, and the constant battle to find parking within a one-mile radius of your destination.

The expense and frustration often hardly seems worth it, especially in a world where you can tap an icon on your phone screen and have a car pick you up within two minutes.

But those rides are pricey, so I'm always on the lookout for cheaper, more convenient transportation options.

A Better Option

If you're lucky enough to live in a city that's walkable or has an extensive public transit system, you might not need to own a car to get to work or the grocery store. But what happens when you want to go further than usual?

Like me, you might go looking for better, more flexible transportation options. I'm here to point you in the direction of a great option that combines the flexibility and independence of renting a car with the ease of use of a ridesharing service: Zipcar.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Zipcar is a car service that allows you to drive cars and pay either by the hour or by the day, depending on the kind of trip you want to take.

You'll find Zipcars in major cities all over the globe, usually parked in reserved spaces in public parking lots. Under the right circumstances, a Zipcar membership can save you hundreds of dollars over car ownership or rideshare services, provided you know its limitations and how to work within them.

Here's how it works:

  • You start by applying for a membership online.
  • Once you're approved, which will depend on your driving history, they'll send you a “Zipcard.”

The Zipcard acts like your key to the cars you reserve: just walk up to your chosen vehicle in the lot, scan your card across the sensor near the windshield, and the car will unlock.

You'll find the keys waiting for you inside. You can take your car for as little as one hour or as long as seven days, and when you're done, all you have to do is leave it in a designated Zipcar parking space for the next user.

Zipcar Membership

Now, all of this convenience isn't free. But with flexible membership plans, you can save quite a bit of money if you know exactly how you plan to use this service.

Memberships come in two flavors: a one-year membership and a month-to-month one.

This membership fee helps Zipcar provide insurance and gas for every vehicle so you don't have to worry about either of those things every time you hop behind the wheel. For the rental itself, you can pay by the hour or by the day, and Zipcar won't charge for mileage up to 180 miles. After that, though, you will incur a mileage fee.

Tip: Zipcar also has an app that you use to reserve your vehicle, which can be done up to a year in advance. That means it can require a bit of planning if you want to make sure a car will be available for you, but as long as you remember to make a reservation, the rest of the experience is a breeze.

HOW IT BEATS THE COMPETITION

Zipcar has its limitations, but the overall experience is a lot less frustrating and a lot more empowering than many of the alternatives. For example, renting a car through a traditional rental agency often involves a long wait to speak to an agent even after you've made your reservation, whereas Zipcar allows you to simply walk up to your car, scan your card, and hop in.

Ridesharing apps, meanwhile, might be convenient, but they don't offer the freedom of jumping into a car yourself and heading to any destination you choose. If you're taking multiple short trips, those ridesharing apps will get pricey fast, too, whereas Zipcar lets you get in and out almost wherever you choose without incurring additional costs.

If you live in a place that doesn't require you to drive your own car every day, but you still own one, you're paying for insurance and a parking spot that you might not even be using.

A Zipcar membership could end up being significantly less expensive than all of those costs if you only use your car once a week or so, and otherwise take public transit or walk. Low-usage car owners might want to consider cashing in their car and getting a membership instead.

THE FINE PRINT

Zipcar is not a one-size-fits-all transportation solution.

Given its reservation system, it does require some planning ahead.

If you overshoot your reservation and end up dropping your car off late, Zipcar may also charge you a fee for that. These fees can get hefty if you're extremely late, and can even eclipse the cost of one day's rental. You can also incur fees for passing through toll zones, returning the car with a low tank, or getting a traffic ticket. If you're not a fan of planning ahead or have trouble sticking to a schedule, Zipcar might not be the ideal solution for you.

The drawback to Zipcar is its number of locations in comparison to leading traditional car rental services.

While a city like San Francisco has Zipcar spots available in a large number of places, other cities and towns aren't so lucky. You may find that the nearest drop-off point is quite a hike from your actual destination. You also can't drop your car off in any old parking place; if you close your rental and leave the car anywhere but in a designated Zipcar parking spot, you'll incur a penalty on your bill. This means a little more planning to know where you'll have to park your Zipcar, and how you'll get from that location to your final destination.

THE BEST USES OF ZIPCAR

All that said, this is the perfect solution for a number of different transportation challenges.

  • Tourists and visitors to cities where Zipcar is active can use it to explore at their leisure without the hassle of dealing with rental car agencies.

  • Anyone who doesn't already own a car can easily grab one from their local Zipcar location and take a Saturday day trip out of town.

  • It's also an affordable option for those whose cars are in the shop or otherwise not always available; you'll always have a backup car ready and waiting for you.

It's not a replacement for public transit, but it is a fantastic, convenient, and very easy way to supplement your other modes of transportation. Knowing that you have the ability to grab a car should you need one adds a flexibility to life that can't be measured. It's not for everyone or every situation, but when used right, Zipcar can be one of the best, most convenient subscription services out there.

Why Zipcar Might Just Be the Best Subscription Service Ever appeared first on CreditDonkey

The Complete Guide to Canada’s Best Online Banks

The Complete Guide to Canada’s Best Online Banks


Young And Thrifty

Canada’s online banks are growing not only in number of competitors, but also in services offered, and ease of use as well.  This is great news if you: Hate driving to a bank branch. Can’t stand waiting in lines. Don’t enjoy paying ever-increasing fees to access your own money. Would rather interact with a screen…

4 QuickBooks Online Tips to Simplify Tax Season for Business Owners

by Stacy Kildal @ Fundera Ledger

QuickBooks Online contains lots of little ways to make tax season simpler for business owners. And in this crazy-busy time […]

The post 4 QuickBooks Online Tips to Simplify Tax Season for Business Owners appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

7 Top Questions to Ask Before Opening a Bank Account 

7 Top Questions to Ask Before Opening a Bank Account 


Credit.com

 There are 7 questions to ask before opening a bank account, including what type of account you need, and what fees you’ll be charged. Let’s break it down.  

First Tech Federal Credit Union Review

by Jeff Rose @ Good Financial Cents

There are plenty of different banks and credit unions for you to use all across the country. Each of them has different products, perks, and disadvantages you'll need to consider when you're shopping around for the perfect bank. What separates one from another? Today we're going to look at First Tech Federal Credit Union. We'll... Continue Reading-->

The post First Tech Federal Credit Union Review appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Top Checking Accounts With No Overdraft Fees

Top Checking Accounts With No Overdraft Fees


Investopedia

Choosing the right checking account could save you hundreds of dollars in fees every year.

5 Best Online Banks You Should Check Out Today | Student Loan Hero

5 Best Online Banks You Should Check Out Today | Student Loan Hero


Student Loan Hero

Looking to earn high interest rates on your account balances and avoid costly fees? Here are five of the best online banks offering those features.

The Best Spin Bikes

by Philip Palermo @ Reviews.com

How Much Interest Would You Earn on a Million Dollars?

by Jeff Gitlen @ LendEDU

“If only I had a million dollars in the bank.” Who hasn’t pondered that at one time or another? But have you ever wondered how much interest one million dollars earns per year? Interest rates on savings vehicles are currently still pretty low – ranging from a paltry 0.01 percent in a bank savings account […]

The post How Much Interest Would You Earn on a Million Dollars? appeared first on LendEDU.

Alliant Credit Union Checking, Savings, CD Promotions & Offers

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Find the latest promotions, offers, and updated rate information for Alliant Credit Union here. Alliant Credit Union is based in Illinois and offers personal banking products and loans to hundreds of thousands of members. Unlike many credit unions, Alliant allows anyone nationwide to join with just a $10 charitable donation to Foster Care to Success. […]

Westpac & NAB launch voice banking technology with Amazon Alexa

by Ellie McLachlan @ Online Banking – Canstar

Westpac Digital Labs teamed up with Amazon to build the new cloud-based Westpac Banking Skill that will allow customers to access their bank account balance, recent spending history, reward points status and financial market updates by asking for the information from Alexa. Westpac customers will not be able to transfer money or make payments using the … Continued

The post Westpac & NAB launch voice banking technology with Amazon Alexa appeared first on Canstar.

Tax Professional or DIY? Here’s How to Choose

by Gemma Hartley @ Chime Banking

The thought of filing taxes on your own can be daunting. At the same time, hiring a professional accountant comes at a price: around $273 of your potential refund. But, with the availability of low-cost online options – like TurboTax and TaxAct – you may still be wondering if hiring a tax professional makes the most sense […]

The post Tax Professional or DIY? Here’s How to Choose appeared first on Chime Banking.

BBVA Compass Bank Checking, Savings, CD Account Promotions

by Tony Phan @ MoneysMyLife

Find the latest BBVA Compass bank promotions, bonuses and offers here for Checking and Savings accounts. Typical bonus amounts are $25, $50, $100, $125, $250, etc. Sometimes there will also gift bonuses, such as tablets and other electronics. BBVA Compass was established in 1964 and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. They have over 650 branches […]

Citi ThankYou Points: Rewards Review

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Dylan Y) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Learn what is ThankYou Points and how much a point is worth. Read this review to find the best ways to earn points fast and how to redeem for best value (including the top Citi transfer partners).

Citi ThankYou Points

If you're considering signing up for a ThankYou Rewards card, you're probably wondering how much its rewards will be worth. Between Citi's roster of rewards cards and redemption options, finding the answer can be a little overwhelming.

So, to simplify your search, we're breaking down the value of Citi ThankYou Points and the cards that earn them. Read on for a full review of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.

How Much Are Citi ThankYou Points Worth?

In terms of redemption options, here's how much your points will be worth:

  • Book travel through Citi: 1.25 cents per point with the Premier and Prestige (or 1 cent per point with the Preferred)
  • Gift cards: 1 cent per point (or less)
  • Shopping: 1 cent per point (or less)
  • Shop through Amazon: .8 cents per point
  • Statement credit: .5 cents per point
  • Cash back: .5 cents per point
  • Transfer to an airline or hotel partner: 1:1 ratio or less

Note: The points and redemption values are based on November 2017 data. Redemption options and value can change at any time.

Beyond redeeming points, each ThankYou Rewards card earns points differently, so the value of your ThankYou points will depend, in part, on how you earn them.

Citi ThankYou Rewards Cards

Citi's ThankYou rewards cards vary in terms of annual fees, bonus spending categories, redemption options, and perks.

  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards: The Citi ThankYou Preferred is a no-frills, straightforward card for people who want to earn rewards without the hassle of activating rotating bonus categories. It doesn't come with the valuable redemption options of the Premier or Prestige, but it also doesn't come with an annual fee.

  • Citi ThankYou Premier: The Citi ThankYou Premier might be better suited to you if you travel, dine out, or go to live events often. It's a mid-range rewards card with a nice array of travel perks and protections.

  • Citi ThankYou Prestige: The ThankYou Prestige is a high-end option geared towards people who like to travel on points. It comes with a sizeable annual fee and a long list of valuable travel benefits, perks, and protections.

Best Way to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

  • Earn a sign-up bonus. If you're looking to apply for a new card, your best bet to rack points up quickly is to meet your new card's spending minimum and qualify for its sign-up bonus.

    If you're considering signing up for a new credit card, it might be worth waiting until a big promotion comes along. Without those extra points, the Citi cards are significantly less competitive compared to other travel credit cards.

Tip: You can also earn extra points by taking advantage of your card's bonus spending categories or by linking a Citibank checking account and completing qualifying activities.

Best Way to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

Most redemption options will give you a value of 1 cent per point, including redeeming points for online shopping, statement credit or cash back, and donations. A more valuable option: using your points for travel.

  • Redeem points to book travel
    When you use your points to book travel through Citi - including airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages - you'll get the standard 1 cent per point redemption value. But you'll get a better redemption rate with the Premier and Prestige: the Premier's points will redeem for 1.25 cents each, and the Prestige's points for 1.33 cents each.

    You can make your reservations through the ThankYou Service Center or thankyou.com, with no blackout dates, minimum stay requirements, or seat restrictions. As a bonus, you'll still earn points on award flights bookings.

  • Transfer your points.
    You won't always get the best deal on travel through the ThankYou Travel Center, but you can also use the Premier or Prestige to transfer your points to Citi's airline, hotel, and retail partners.

    With Citi, you can transfer your points to Hilton Honors at a 1:1.5 ratio, or to most airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. That might make Hilton sound like a better deal, but their high rates for award rooms means that transferring to an airline partner might actually give you better value.

Tip: You can combine your points with any other ThankYou rewards account - even ones that aren't in your name - but remember that shared points will expire 90 days after the transfer date.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

If you carry the ThankYou Preferred, you'll be able to transfer your points to jetBlue TrueBlue at a 1,000:500 ratio. Otherwise, you can use your Premier or Prestige card to transfer your points to any of Citi's airline and hotel partners, although you won't get a 1:1 ratio with all of them.

Citi's travel transfer partners include:

  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • Hilton Honors

Search around for a transfer partner that offers a valuable award flight for your trip, and you'll likely be able to get more value out of your points than you would by booking travel directly through Citi.

The Bottom Line

The value of your ThankYou points will depend largely on which card you use, how you use it, and how you redeem your points.

If you're looking for straightforward rewards with no hassle - and no annual fee - then the Citi ThankYou Preferred might be for you.

But, if you don't mind paying an annual fee in exchange for better rewards and perks, then the Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi ThankYou Prestige is probably a better fit. Either will come with a higher rewards rate, better perks, and more transfer partners.

Citi ThankYou Points: Rewards Review appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citi.

Disclaimer: The information for the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, Citi Prestige® Card, and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Best Exercise Bikes

by Philip Palermo @ Reviews.com

Open banking is coming and it's going to change everything

by @ bonkers.ie blog

In the last couple of weeks or months, you may have received an email or letter from your bank informing you of changes known as PSD2 coming into effect in early 2018. If you’re the curious sort, you probably looked into it yourself - but, if like me - you saw an email with the less than compelling subject line of “PSD2 is coming” or something to that effect, you probably scrolled right on past it and went on with your day...

No, it wasn’t just some small and inconsequential change to your bank’s terms and conditions, it’s actually quite a big deal and could have the potential to change how we conduct our day-to-day finances forever.

So, what’s it all about? The very short answer? Banks are now required to grant access to customers’ account details to third parties (at the customers’ discretions of course).

The long answer is a lot more complicated but we’ll endeavour to provide a fairly comprehensive overview of the new EU regulation and what it will mean for you, for banks and for other affected parties.   

What is PSD2?

The ‘2’ in ‘PSD2’ refers to the fact that it is a revised edition of the first Payment Services Directive which was introduced in 2007. PSD1 was designed to create a single market for the payments with the EU.

As time went by, and as customer demands changed and the market saw a distinct growth in new payment-related FinTech (or financial technology) companies, PSD2 seeks to level out the playing field to include all kinds payment service providers and not just traditional banks.

As previously mentioned, PSD2 requires banks to open their payments infrastructure and customer data assets to new forms of payment organisations. This means that banks’ application programming interfaces (or APIs) must be accessible, and they also must ensure strong customer protection through enhanced security measures. This will enable third-parties to build financial services on top of banks’ data and infrastructure.

The new directive aims to drive innovation and transparency amongst banks and fintech companies, reinforce consumer protection, improve internet security where payments are concerned, while also generating more competition in the market for the benefit of consumers.

How will PSD2 affect the banks?

PSD2 poses a real shake-up for banks because it introduces quite a few risks for them, chief among which is the threat of being reduced to a mere infrastructure provider by third party providers who’ll be able to position themselves between them and customers.

Commentators on PSD2 have noted that though open banking poses a threat to banks, it also serves a catalyst for growth and opportunity. Banks who focus on innovation, customer-centricity and collaboration with FinTechs will be those who emerge victorious on the other side.  

Banks are going to have to work very hard to establish methods of combating new players stepping in on their existing business models. PwC suggests a few ways that they could do this; for instance, by offering competitive, user-centric services themselves or interfacing with other banks to provide a comprehensive service that improves the relationship with their existing customers and is attractive to new customers.

We’ve already seen banks experimenting with their APIs and collaborating with fintechs in the last few years (think Apple Pay and Android Pay) in response to changed customer expectation and increased digitalisation, so it will be very interesting to see what kind of customer-centric innovation we will see in the coming years driven by open banking.

Let’s hope it can only mean good news for you and your bank!

How will PSD2 affect me as a banking customer?

So, what will open banking mean for you in a more tangible sense, you ask?

Essentially, PSD2 will break down your bank’s monopoly on your data. It will allow a variety of businesses to retrieve your account data from your bank (always with your permission) to make payments. For example, in the next couple of years you could find yourself paying your bills via Google or Amazon.

The number of new services that could arise as a result of PSD2 regulation are numerous, as suggested by this list of suggestions from PwC;

  • Innovative payment services from merchants that wouldn’t require cards.

  • Apps that give access to information through a single touchpoint or an app that aggregates and monitors expenses across various different bank accounts.

  • Cardless withdrawal via NFC technology will become a convenient and popular option.  

  • Already an existing technology, we could see location-based couponing gaining a lot more traction. This is where nearby companies reach out to you via your smartphone to offer discounts and coupons.

  • Instant P2P payments: Instantaneous payments via mobile wallet on many p2p accounts and towards operators with advanced features

  • Decoupled cards (debit cards not issued by, and not tied to, any particular bank) offering decoupled from payment accounts.

The future is bright

PSD2 shouldn’t be a cause for worry for banking customers, indeed it looks as if it’s the banks who are going to have to make all the effort to keep us interested as the market is opened up to newcomers, doubtlessly offering new and innovative digital financial solutions.

Here at bonkers.ie, we’re expecting to see some interesting things in the coming months and years.

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

Looking for Credit Union Student Loans? Here’s How to Find and Apply for Them

by Christy Rakoczy @ Student Loan Hero

Do you need private student loans to cover the cost of your education? Though many prospective borrowers head straight to a big bank or online lender for a student loan, these aren’t your only options. Consider student loans from credit unions, too. Like banks and online lenders, credit unions are financial institutions that lend money. […]

The post Looking for Credit Union Student Loans? Here’s How to Find and Apply for Them appeared first on Student Loan Hero.

Home Chef Review: Is It Worth It?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim P) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Almost half of Americans claim to hate to cook. For many, it's due to a lack of time to put together a half decent meal. Perhaps because of this phenomenon, meal delivery services have taken over the radar.

One name you probably hear quite often is Home Chef. Founded in 2013, Home Chef delivers more than 1.5 million meals to doorsteps each month. The perfectly portioned ingredients and colorful recipe cards have wanna-be chefs trying new things.

Is it the right service for you?

What Is Home Chef?

Busy families often resort to frozen food or takeout. While it's convenient, it could be unhealthy and costly. Enter Home Chef, the answer to the desire for a home cooked meal in under 30 minutes. This home meal delivery service promises fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with delicious recipes even the novice can prepare.

Home Chef delivers all of the ingredients necessary to create your chosen meals. However, they don't provide common staples, such as cooking oil, salt, and pepper. You can skip meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe hunting. Home Chef works with high-quality food suppliers and professional chefs to deliver the best ingredients and tastiest recipes.

How Home Chef Works

You can sign up for Home Chef in a few simple steps. You'll provide your email address, food preferences, shipping, and payment information. Based on your preferences, Home Chef then suggests meals for you. But you can choose from the more than 11 options each week based on your family's desires. This offers a great opportunity to try something new. Many families try meals they would otherwise never eat.

You can choose your menu on a weekly basis as long as it's by the deadline. But Home Chef also sets their menus 5 weeks in advance. If you like to plan, you can know what you'll be eating for the next month or so. Their site has a countdown to let you know how many days are left to order from a specific week's menu. Once the deadline hits, the menu is no longer available. However, you can still access their recipes for a few months.

You can also choose to add on smoothie ingredients and/or fresh fruit baskets. You choose the number of servings and the items are added to your order.

Once you choose your meals, Home Chef ships the fresh ingredients and recipe cards right to your doorstep. You get to choose the delivery date so you know when it will arrive.

Once you receive your order, you simply unbox the desired meal and follow the recipe steps. Take note: you'll find a list of "extra" items you need, such as olive oil, salt, and pepper, at the top of the card. You'll also see any special notes titled "Before You Cook." This alerts you of any steps you must take before you start cooking.

Each step in the cooking process is broken down into simple instructions and includes pictures. They even offer a "proper plating" picture so you can replicate the look of the meal as you would see it in a restaurant.

Who Benefits the Most from Home Chef?

Home Chef isn't for everyone, but many people do benefit. If you are too busy to cook anything but frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets or you are sick of takeout, it could be worth a try.

However, if you are the type who follows a strict budget or uses coupons religiously, you might find the price a little much to handle. Home Chef charges customers by the number of servings ordered. However, the smallest quantity you can order is 2 servings. Because they charge per serving, you don't get a price break with the more people you feed.

If you were to shop for the ingredients yourself, the price per serving may decrease with the more mouths you feed. You can either buy in bulk or purchase items on sale. At Home Chef, it could cost as much as $60 for one meal to feed a family of six.

But, for some, the price is worth it. Even though you might spend as much as you would on takeout, you get much higher quality food and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself.

If you have a little time to spend in the kitchen, but less time to meal plan and grocery shop, this service may work well. Keep in mind that while you receive fresh produce and meat, you still have to do a little preparing. Many recipes require you to slice vegetables, chop nuts, and season the meat. Typically, it's nothing too time consuming, but something you should keep in mind.

What Are Your Choices?

Home Chef offers a large variety of options even for those on a strict diet. When you sign up, you can specify any allergies or preferences you have.

After entering your email address, Home Chef asks you a variety of questions:

  • How many meals would you like sent to you each week? (Choose 2-6)
  • How many people will you cook for? (2, 4, or 6)
  • Do you prefer meat, seafood, vegetables? You can choose one, two, or all three options.
  • Do you need a low-calorie or low-carb meal plan?

You can then choose to omit any of the following:

  • Pork
  • Soy
  • Red meat
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Shellfish

Based on your preferences, Home Chef offers a variety of menu options. A few examples of past meals offered include:

  • BBQ-Rubbed Chicken and Cheddar Mac
  • Greek Panko-Crusted Cod with vegetables
  • Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Sauce and Potatoes
  • Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs

The Pros and Cons of Home Chef

Having fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with step-by-step instructions may seem like a dream come true and for some, it is. However, you should know the cons before deciding too.

Pros

  • The recipes are very easy to follow, even if you are not a self-proclaimed chef.
  • You can personalize the options to meet your dietary needs.
  • You can pick and choose the number of meals each week or even skip several weeks at a time.
  • Possibly waste less food, as only the necessary amount of fresh ingredients come in the box.
  • Recipes are categorized by difficulty.

Cons

  • You should be home when the food is delivered, as it's chilled only with standard ice packs.
  • The dietary restriction options don't include vegan or heart-healthy diet options.
  • Single-member households must pay for 2 servings of any meals they order.

How It Compares

Home meal delivery services are quickly on the rise. While Home Chef has been around for almost 5 years, others are popping up all over the internet. They all offer the same idea - fresh ingredients to make restaurant-quality meals in your own kitchen. A few of the options outside of Home Chef include:

Blue Apron
Blue Apron offers a subscription service. You get a box each week unless you cancel your subscription. You choose from the "2-Person Plan" or the "Family" plan. The 2-Person Plan allows you to choose 2 or 3 recipes per week. The Family Plan allows you to choose 2, 3, or 4 recipes per week. They do offer vegetarian plans, but only for the 2-Person Plan. They specialize in unique recipes with new cooking techniques to keep even the most experienced cook learning new things. However, Blue Apron meals tend to take longer to prepare - some even take up to 90 minutes.

Plated
Plated works much the same as Home Chef. You choose your meals from week to week. You can skip weeks, stop delivery altogether, or order as often as you want. They have more than 20 recipes to choose from at a time. They also offer dessert recipe options. You receive most of the necessary ingredients outside of the standard staples you probably have at home. Plated allows you to mix and match the number of servings you get for each meal. This allows some flexibility for entertaining or nights when not everyone will be home for dinner. The food from Plated is often very unique or gourmet, and the recipes can be complicated or time consuming.

Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh provides farm-fresh foods with the option to choose a meat/seafood or vegetarian plan. They also provide a weekly subscription, but you must choose between a plan for 2 or 4 people and 3 or 4 recipes per week. Based on your preferences, Hello Fresh provides you with 15 new recipes to choose from each week. By default, they choose your meals for you, but you have the flexibility to change them if desired. Hello Fresh is a good choice for those who prefer "standard" recipes rather than the more "gourmet" options from other subscription services.

Bottom Line

Home Chef is among the many meal delivery service companies vying for your grocery dollar. They are among the easier meals to prepare, yet they don't lack in sophistication. They are among the services that offer the most options for those on a restricted diet. If you're looking for an alternative to convenience food, this is a great option. You'll create a warm, home-cooked meal for your family with fresh ingredients that will not go to waste.

Home Chef Review: Is It Worth It? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018 - NerdWallet

Best Online Checking Accounts of 2018 - NerdWallet


NerdWallet

Aspiration Summit Account Overall bank rating:   1% APY on balances of at least $2,500 What else we like about it RADIUS HYBRID Overall bank rating:   0.85% APY on balances…

Best Online Checking Accounts

Best Online Checking Accounts


CreditDonkey

The best online checking accounts are free, have minimum fees, and even offer interest. Find the best high interest online checking accounts to consider.

Spotahome Neighbourhood Guide: Best things to do in Soho, London

Spotahome Neighbourhood Guide: Best things to do in Soho, London

by Sabrina @ The Spotahome Blog

Soho is maybe the area of London that is hardest to pin down. Despite changes, the big brands, the coffee chains, the pulsing heart of London is still here.

What Is a Savings Account — and Should You Open One?

by Andrew Pentis @ Student Loan Hero

Maybe your piggy bank is overflowing, or the space beneath your mattress is filling up. Wherever you’ve been putting your money, you’re now interested in storing it more safely. But if you’re new to saving with a brick-and-mortar or online bank, you could be stuck on a basic question: What is a savings account? What […]

The post What Is a Savings Account — and Should You Open One? appeared first on Student Loan Hero.

6 Real-Life Money Lessons You Can Learn From Monopoly

by Kim Galeta @ Chime Banking

When I was growing up, my favorite board game was Monopoly. Recently, I decided to re-explore the game with my nieces and nephews. And, wow! I realize now just how many life lessons can be learned from this classic game. For starters, Monopoly is a game of strategy that offers ways to manage your money […]

The post 6 Real-Life Money Lessons You Can Learn From Monopoly appeared first on Chime Banking.

Compare the Best Savings Accounts in Australia for February 2018* | finder.com.au

Compare the Best Savings Accounts in Australia for February 2018* | finder.com.au


finder.com.au

What's the best bank to have a savings account? Compare the best compounding interest savings accounts for saving money. Our top 10 here.

My Experience Investing with MyTripleA

by Jean @ Jean Galea

MyTripleA is a Spanish investment platform launched in 2015. It is the first and only Spanish crowdlending platform that has been granted two licenses to operate: Payment Entity license granted by the Ministry for Economics and supervised by the Bank of Spain License to act as a Crowdfunding Platform (since July 2016) registered at the CNMV. MyTripleA […]

The post My Experience Investing with MyTripleA appeared first on Jean Galea.

Better banking experience | 5 online banks that offer lower fees, higher returns on savings & overall better service

Better banking experience | 5 online banks that offer lower fees, higher returns on savings & overall better service


Clark Howard

These five online banks in particular are the cream of the crop, most of them offering a combination of outstanding customer service, high savings rates and lower account costs.

Is Online Banking Safe? How to Boost Your Banking Security

by Margarette Burnette @ NerdWallet

When you bank online, you trust that your account is safe from hackers. Even so, online accounts can seem to consumers like easy targets: Instead of robbing a bank, a…

Best Discount Broker

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Kim Pinnelli) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

The best online broker offers low fees, great customer service, and smart research tools. Find the best discount brokerage to consider.

Discount brokers charge as little as $4.95 for online trades. Compare that to the $100+ that many full-service brokers charge. It seems like a no-brainer choice to choose the discount broker. But, you must know how to pick the right one.

Because trading online is a self-directed practice, you need the right broker backing you up. Read our in-depth guide on our choices for the top discount brokers today.

What Is a Discount Broker?

First, let's look at the definition of a discount broker.

As the name suggests, discount brokers cost much less than a full-service broker. But, their services are much more limited. Basically, they execute your orders to buy or sell your investments. They do not provide advice. In other words, you won't speak to a person when you execute your trades. The upside? You won't have someone trying to upsell you or get you to invest in things you don't want to invest in.

However, this does not mean you don't get support. Many discount brokers do offer in-person customer service for those times when you are better off talking to someone. Plus, many of them offer online resources and tools. Some even have tutorials or mock trading platforms to help you get the hang of investing.

The bottom line is a discount broker costs you much less money per trade. You won't have the steep commissions that full-service brokers charge. What this means is more cash in your pocket and the opportunity to make more trades.

Why Use a Discount Broker

So why would you choose a discount broker over a full-service broker? The main reason is the cost. But here we will break down who would do better with a full-service broker and who could get by with a discount broker.

Who Needs a Full-Service Broker?

If you answer "yes" to the following questions, you may be better off with a full-service broker:

  • Do you have a large number of large investments?
  • Do you not have time to manage your portfolio effectively?
  • Do you not have the desire nor the know-how to handle your portfolio?
  • Can you afford high commission fees?

If you answered "yes" to each of these questions, a full-service broker might be the best option. Expect to pay between $150 and $200 for each trade, though.

Watch out for annual fees and/or maintenance fees in addition to per trade fees. Full-service brokers often include these charges in their agreement.

Who Needs a Discount Broker?

Typically, the "average" investor does just fine with a discount broker. Answer the following questions to see if you qualify:

  • Do you want to save money on each trade made?
  • Do you like to be in control of your investments?
  • Do you not want to be bothered with upselling or pressure to take other investments?
  • Do you make frequent trades?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, you may fare just fine with a discount broker.

What to Look for in a Discount Broker

Once you decide a discount broker is the way to go, you still have many decisions you must make. A quick search online will give you many options. Before you get overwhelmed, consider the most important factors:

  • Cost: This probably goes without saying. You want a broker that you can afford, but don't jump at the cheapest broker just yet. Consider all of the fees, not just the advertised ones. You might find a broker that advertises super low commissions, but doesn't readily advertise the other fees. Call them hidden fees or extra fees; the bottom line is that they cost you more than what's advertised. Ask about annual fees, maintenance fees, inactivity fees, and transfer fees.

  • Minimum deposit/balance: Some brokers require a minimum deposit to open the account. Others don't have a minimum. Yet others require a minimum average balance over the life of the account. Determine what you can afford to keep in the account if choosing accounts with a minimum requirement higher than $0.

  • Customer service: The level of customer service you want is a personal decision. Take a trial run on any broker's website that you are considering. Check out the support they have readily available on their website. But you should also email and call them with questions. See how long it takes to get an answer. This can help you decide which broker provides the level of support you need.

  • Tools: Online brokers offer a varying amount of tools. They include retirement calculators, market analysis, comparison charts, and research tools. Consider whether you need in-depth research tools or if you are a more basic investor. There are online brokers for both types of investors. Knowing what will help you be successful will help the decision.

Best Discount Broker

Here are the top discount brokers according to our research.

Best Discount Broker for Investors on a Budget

Ally Invest is one of the cheaper discount brokers, but they offer barebones services. It's best for beginning investors with an education in trading stocks and bonds. You won't receive a lot of guidance, but you also won't receive a lot of bells and whistles. This is why we recommend it for the new investor who understands the markets.

We love the fact that every trader gets access to the trading platform. On the dashboard, you'll have access to quotes in real-time and as much information as you want. You can filter your results to suit your needs. If you want full information on one security, you can get as many details as you want on it. Would you rather compare two or more securities on one page? You can do that too - you are in full control of what you see.

If you love research and advice, you'll get that and more with the community forums on Ally Invest. Do you want to rub noses with the industry experts or see what other traders are trading? You can do this and more with Ally Invest's forums. You can obtain feedback on your strategies, check out the 50 most active stocks at any given time, and chat with other investors.

Best Discount Broker for Research

TD Ameritrade may charge more than some of the cheaper alternatives, but they offer unparalleled research options. No matter how large your portfolio, you have access to the ThinkorSwim platform. What is normally a "premium platform" with other brokers is available to every investor with TD Ameritrade. The platform offers extensive research opportunities, instructional videos, real-time quotes, charts, and studies. You can even test out some of your strategies based on historical information to see how you would do.

Aside from the premium platforms, we love that there is no minimum deposit requirement to trade with TD Ameritrade. This means you can start trading as soon as you open an account. Other brokerages make you wait until your balance hits a specific threshold.

We also love the breadth of customer service available from TD Ameritrade. Investors have access to 24/7 customer service, both online and on the phone. You can email, chat online, or call customer service. You'll typically receive an immediate response for your questions or concerns.

Because of their more costly commission, TD Ameritrade is good for the beginning-to-moderate investor who won't make frequent trades. The higher cost gives you access to research and tools that don't hold a candle to the other brokerages. But, if you trade frequently, the higher commissions can eat into your profits.

Best Discount Broker for Frequent Traders

If you are a frequent trader, you need lower commissions. If not, those costs can really eat into your profits. E-Trade offers frequent traders a nice discount, which is why we chose it for frequent traders. While $6.95 per trade is equal to TD Ameritrade, traders save $2.00 per trade when they have more than 30 trades in a quarter.

E-Trade offers a variety of customer support tools, making it great for beginning and intermediate investors. The basic E-Trade platform works well for most investors, as it offers real-time quotes, charting, analysis and more. All investors also have access to the OptionsHouse platform. This is a slightly more advanced platform, but is still easy enough for the new investor to navigate. Frequent investors (making more than 30 trades per quarter) also have access to a third platform called E-Trade Pro. This platform is similar to ThinkorSwim. Investors have access to trading ideas and are able to test their ideas out on real investments.

Keep in mind that if you want to try out E-Trade's numerous platforms, you'll need at least a $500 initial deposit. This sets E-Trade apart from many of the other discount brokers and is something to consider when choosing a discount broker. Frequent traders often have at least $500 to trade, and benefit from the lower pricing tier offered at E-Trade.

Best Discount Broker for Customer Service

Fidelity is known for their mutual funds, but they are a great discount broker too. If you value top-notch customer service, this is the brokerage firm for you. Fidelity has built up its reputation of providing prompt customer service. You can reach them by phone, email, or live chat online, all of which are available 24/7.

Fidelity is also very strong in the research department. They offer an array of third-party reports for each quote you pull. If you are an avid researcher, you'll love the speed at which you can have multiple reports at your fingertips. Sometimes time is money, of which Fidelity will save you plenty with this service.

Fidelity's platform gets good reviews regarding ease of use and services it provides. Beginning investors have access to plenty of research and screeners. This helps make it easy to get the information needed to make a trade. They also offer their platform as a mobile app, making it easy to make investment decisions on-the-go.

However, if you want more advanced trading options, you'll need to make at least 36 trades in a rolling 12-month period. The Active Trader Pro offers more filters; the ability to store trades for future use; and better customization.

Other Brokers to Consider

  • Merrill Edge: A great option for those with a lot of capital to invest and who relish great customer service.

  • Charles Schwab: Investors both new and experienced do well with this broker's user-friendly platforms for infrequent and active investors.

  • Interactive Brokers: Reserved for investors with advanced needs and active traders with at least $10,000 to invest.

  • Tradestation: Once a platform for pros, this broker is now useful for beginners and advanced traders that will keep their money put. They do have a $125 outgoing transfer charge, which is on the high side.

  • Capital One Investing: This platform is perfect for traders just starting out or those who want an automatic investment option. Capital One offers discounted commissions as low as $3.95 for automatic investments.

There Are Other Options Too

Discount brokers can save you a lot of money and put you in the driver's seat of your portfolio. But they aren't for everyone. Following are a couple of other choices you may want to consider:

  • Robo-Advisors: If you can handle a completely "hands-off" approach, robo-advisors can save you even more money. The automated system uses an algorithm to invest your money for you. After you input your risk thresholds and investment goals, the computer does the rest. The fees vary, but companies like Betterment charge one annual fee based on your account balance.

  • Peer Lending: If you want to stay away from stocks and bonds for now, consider peer-to-peer lending. You decide how much money you want to invest and what type of risk you want to take. The minimum investment is often as low as $25. You can break your investment up into as many loans as you want. This helps diversify your portfolio with companies like Lending Club or Prosper.

  • Full-Service Broker: If you have a lot of money to invest or need that in-person advice, a full-service stockbroker is an option. You'll find them at your larger brokerage houses, like Merrill Lynch, but keep in mind that their commissions are much higher than discount brokers. Expect to pay $100 - $200 per trade versus $4 - $7 per trade.

Common Questions

  • What is an account minimum deposit?
    Many discount brokers don't allow traders to start trading until their account reaches a specific threshold. For example, Charles Schwab requires a $1,000 minimum deposit to open a Schwab One account.

  • What are account maintenance fees?
    The account maintenance fee is separate from the per trade fee. It's important to read the fine print to see what brokers may charge. For example, some brokers charge a 0.5% annual maintenance fee. Others only charge the fee if your balance dips below their required threshold. Always read the fine print to make sure you know what the account will cost.

  • What is a margin account?
    If you meet the Federal minimum deposit requirements, you may be able to buy on margin. This means you put a percentage (usually 50%) down on the investment and borrow the other half. The broker charges you interest and holds your securities as collateral.

  • How do you withdraw funds from your brokerage account?
    You can request a withdrawal of your funds at any time. The request must be in writing. You usually have the option of a wire transfer, ACH electronic transfer, or a check mailed to you. If you do choose the wire transfer, most brokerages charge a wire fee of as much as $50 per transfer.

  • How do you open a discount brokerage account?
    If you are opening a cash account, you'll need to provide your personal identifying information (name, address, social security number, and driver's license number). You'll also need to provide your employment information, income, and net worth. You'll also need the funds to open up the account and start trading.

The Bottom Line

Using a discount broker is a great way to trade and keep your profits. Choose your broker wisely by paying attention to hidden fees and understanding account minimums. A discount broker is a great way for beginning and experienced investors alike to invest in their future.

Best Discount Broker appeared first on CreditDonkey

The Healthiest (& Unhealthiest) States in America

by PolicyGenius @ Chime Banking

With the start of a new year, many of us have embarked on self-betterment resolutions. The vast majority of these are health-related: Eat healthier, get more exercise, sleep better, stay fit, lose weight. But what about financial health? Many of us are resolving to get our financial house in order, too. It turns out the two are […]

The post The Healthiest (& Unhealthiest) States in America appeared first on Chime Banking.

Top Financial Advisors and Best Wealth Managers in the US & UK | Top Ranking Lists

by AdvisoryHQ Ranking Team @ AdvisoryHQ

2017—2018 RANKING LISTS TOP RANKING BEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS & RIAS This publication presents the lists of top financial advisors, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and wealth management firms across the U.S. and U.K. that have been reviewed and rated in 2017 & 2018.  Bookmark this page and check back often. As AdvisoryHQ performs additional reviews and rankings of top […]

Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

TurboTax 2018 Review | Popular Online Tax Software

by Emily Guy Birken @ PT Money

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax preparation software programs out there and for very good reason. It offers a step-by-step process for preparing your taxes so you can rest assured that every I is dotted, every T is crossed, and every eligible deduction is taken. They take care of yearly tax updates, making […]

The post TurboTax 2018 Review | Popular Online Tax Software appeared first on PT Money.

Which Southwest Credit Card is Right for You?

by feedback@creditdonkey.com (Anna G) @ CreditDonkey Reviews

Fly Southwest? You may want to consider a Southwest credit card from Chase. But which one is right for you? We break it down.

Southwest offers a couple of the best airline cards for domestic travelers.

If you fly Southwest at least a couple of times a year, consider one of the two co-branded credit cards offered by Chase: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier.

Both cards offer a high sign-up bonus and good reward potential. The Plus has a lower annual fee but is not ideal for international travel. The Premier is the more upscale version with slightly better rewards.

Which makes more sense?

We'll do a full run-down comparing the two cards, so you can make your own choice.

Overview: Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier

Before we start comparing, let's go over how the two cards work in a nutshell. Both cards give you the same sign-up bonus and reward points. There are a couple of major differences:

  • The Southwest Plus card has a $69 annual fee. You get 3,000 bonus points each anniversary year. There is a foreign transaction fee.

  • The Southwest Premier card has a $99 annual fee. You get 6,000 bonus points each anniversary year and earn points toward elite tiers. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Now, with these major differences in mind, let's go over why you may prefer one over the other.

Note: Chase has a 5/24 rule, which means that if you've opened 5 credit card accounts in the past 24 months (from any bank), you will not be approved for a new card. The Southwest cards fall under this rule.

Why Either Card Is a Good Choice

Both cards are designed to earn Rapid Reward points, which can then be redeemed for Southwest award flights (more detail in the next section). With both Southwest cards, you get:

  • Sign-up bonus. You can earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

  • 2x on Southwest purchases. You get 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, including participating Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. You get 1x per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Points for balance transfers. You get 1 point for each $1 in balance transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening (up to $10,000 for the Plus, and $15,000 for the Premier). Most credit cards don't let you earn points for balance transfers.

  • Earn points toward Unlimited Companion Pass. If you earn 110,000 Rapid Reward points in one calendar year, you can name one companion to fly free with you on unlimited Southwest flights until the end of the following year. This is one of the best companion deals out there. With the sign-up bonus alone, you're more than a third of the way to the Companion Pass.

    Note: Only points earned with the Southwest credit cards qualify towards a Companion Pass. So, for example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer points to Southwest, they won't qualify.

  • Bags fly free. Your first and second checked bags are free.

  • No blackout dates, seat restrictions, or change fees. You can use your miles to book any seat on any flight. And if you need to change the date of a flight, there's no change fee (though you will still need to pay the fare difference).

  • Rewards never expire. Your miles never expire as long as your card account remains open.

Who the Southwest Plus Card Is Good For

If you're an occasional domestic flyer (you fly Southwest just a few times a year), then this card is probably good enough for you. Since both cards have the same sign-up bonus and reward earnings, the Plus will save you money with a smaller annual fee.

Remember, it also gives you 3,000 points every anniversary year. This doesn't fully cover the annual fee, but it makes it easier to swallow.

Why the Southwest Rapid Reward Premier Card Is Superior

If you fly Southwest more often, the Premier card may be better for you. Here are some other perks that come with the Southwest Premier:

  • Tier qualifying points (TQPs): For every $10,000 spent on the card (on eligible purchases), you earn 1,500 TQPs. You can earn up to 15,000 TQPS per year. TQPs can be used for Rapid Rewards elite status.

    • If you achieve A-List status (35,000 TPQ per year), you get: priority check in, security, and boarding; dedicated phone line; free same-day standby; and 25% earnings bonus on Southwest flights.

    • If you achieve A-List Preferred status (70,000 TPQ per year), you get the above plus: free in-flight Wi-Fi and 100% earnings bonus on Southwest flights.

  • 6,000-point anniversary bonus: You get a bonus 6,000 points every year on your account anniversary. 6,000 points could be worth a flight around $100, so this already justifies the higher $99 annual fee.

  • No foreign transaction fee: The Premier card has no foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad.

Do you own a business? There is also a business version of the Premier card – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

Both Do Have Downsides

Keep in mind some of these downsides for both cards:

  • No priority boarding. Unlike other co-branded airline cards that give you priority boarding just for owning the card, the Southwest cards don't include this perk. The only way to get this perk is to earn enough TPQs in a year to qualify for elite status.

  • High APR. Neither card has an introductory APR offer for purchases or balance transfers. The regular APR is quite high, so make sure you are able to pay off the balance each month.

  • You only get bonus points for Southwest flights, and hotel and car rental partners. Unless you fly Southwest a lot and use their hotel and car rental partners, it may be hard to rack up points. If your goal is to earn points faster, then consider whether the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a better fit. It gives you 2x points on travel and dining purchases. Then you can transfer the points 1:1 to Southwest (but they won't qualify for the Companion Pass).

  • You can only redeem on Southwest flights. This isn't much of a problem if you take a lot of Southwest flights. But if you want more flexibility or want to travel to places Southwest doesn't go, then think about whether it's better to get a general travel rewards card that lets you use any airline.

  • The Plus card has a foreign transaction fee. The Plus card charges a foreign transaction fee on purchases made out of the country (3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars on purchases). However, the Premier card has no foreign transaction fee, so it is better if you travel internationally.

How to Use Southwest Rapid Reward Points

Both cards earn Rapid Reward Points, which you can redeem towards any Southwest flight, with no blackout dates and no seat restrictions.

Using your points is very easy. Simply sign in to your Rapid Rewards account (create it for free) to book travel, and select the option “Points.”

You will then see the flight options listed in points. You can also toggle back and forth between dollars and points to compare the points value.

Southwest has three types of fares. Wanna Get Away is the cheapest fare. It's nonrefundable, but can be cancelled for credit good up to 1 year from purchase date. Business Select and Anytime fares are fully refundable.

So what are Rapid Reward points worth?
Southwest points have pretty good value, especially for the Wanna Get Away fights. We find that, generally, each Rapid Reward point is worth between 1.6 and 2.0 cents. This means that 10,000 points could be redeemed for a flight that costs around $160 - $200.

For example, in the sample flight above from Los Angeles to Seattle in March 2018, the highlighted flight costs 4,248 points. If you were to buy it with cash, it costs $86. That means the point value of the flight is 2.02 cents.

You don't pay any taxes or surcharges for domestic flights, except for the $5.60 Security Fee in each direction.

Do You Fly Other Airlines?

Not a frequent Southwest flyer? If there's another airline you prefer instead, consider these cards:

Bottom Line

So, which Southwest card is right for you? Since both cards give the same sign-up bonus and have the same reward structure, which is better?

If you fly Southwest just a few times a year domestically, the Plus card will do the job just fine. If you travel to any of Southwest's international offerings, you'll want the Premier card as it has no foreign transaction fee. It also has a larger anniversary bonus each year, which helps justify the $99 annual fee.

Which Southwest Credit Card is Right for You? appeared first on CreditDonkey

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, United MileagePlus Explorer Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Who Has The Best Car Insurance for Young Adults in 2018?

by Jeff Rose @ Good Financial Cents

When you’re a teenager or young adult, buying car insurance isn’t the most pleasant of experiences. On the one hand, auto insurance coverage is required for all drivers in every state in the US (except New Hampshire). On the other, teenagers and young adults pay the highest premiums for coverage. We’re going to try and... Continue Reading-->

The post Who Has The Best Car Insurance for Young Adults in 2018? appeared first on Good Financial Cents.

Jetstar Customers The First To Book Flights With Afterpay

by Ellie McLachlan @ Online Banking – Canstar

Retail payments platform Afterpay has announced its partnership with budget airline Jetstar to become the first carrier to introduce this new payment option to Aussie travellers. From today, people can book domestic flights and products online in four equal interest-free fortnightly instalments with a minimum spend of $200 and maximum spend of $1,000. According to … Continued

The post Jetstar Customers The First To Book Flights With Afterpay appeared first on Canstar.

New report names best wireless network for video streaming

New report names best wireless network for video streaming

by Mike Timmermann @ clark.com

Which of the major wireless providers gives you the best mobile video experience? A new study ranks them from best to worst!

Blooom: Finally, a Robo-Advisor to Help You Manage Your 401K

by Ashley Chorpenning @ PT Money

When you started your first job, were you offered a 401(k) account? And if you were, did you even know what that meant? PT's note: When I started my first big career job (nine months with KPMG out of Shreveport, LA) I never invested with the 401K! I didn't even get the match! It wasn't […]

The post Blooom: Finally, a Robo-Advisor to Help You Manage Your 401K appeared first on PT Money.

eir vs Sky vs Virgin Media vs Vodafone – how do they compare?

by @ bonkers.ie blog

If I was to ask you what you look for in a broadband plan, what would you say?

You’d want it to be fast and reliable, right? And not too expensive? Maybe you’d like to see if there are any nice sign-up up bonuses too. Sometimes, these can be very nice indeed!

There a lots of other nitty-gritty details such as landline minutes, HD compatibility and extra TV channels that might be of interest to you too.

But let’s be honest, these features aren’t the most important things to be considering when signing up to a 12- or 18-month contract, are they? They’re side-notes.

Chances are, you mostly care about three basic things when picking a bundle:

    1. What you get

    2. What it costs

    3. What sign-up bonuses are on offer

So let’s put a pin in the distracting details, introductory discounts and head-spinning marketing messages and take a look at how the main providers really stack up.

To create as level a playing field as possible, we’ll compare the entry-level Tripleplay bundles (that’s broadband, TV and home phone) from eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone. And to make the pricing as clear as possible, we’ll compare the average monthly cost over the course of the contract with each.

Right, them’s the rules. Now let’s get comparing!

eir

1. What do you get?

With eir you get unlimited 100 Mb broadband, a home phone plan and over 50 digital TV channels. Great!

2. What does it cost?

It’s an 18-month contract and costs €50 a month for the first 12 months and €91 a month after that. So, the average monthly cost over the course of the contract is €64.

3. What sign-up bonuses are on offer?

Here’s where it gets really good.

You get eir Sport for free which comes with seven premium live sports channels that usually costs about €20 a month.

With such a long discount and sign-up bonuses like free access to sport, eir will take some beating. And you can sign up to this eir deal now.

Let’s see if Sky can take them on.

Sky

1. What do you get?

With Sky, you get unlimited 100 Mb broadband, a home phone plan and over 50 digital channels. So, essentially the same as eir.

2. What does it cost?

It’s a 12-month contract and the monthly price is €64.50 a month for the first year, rising to €84.50 thereafter. Since it’s a 12-month contract, the good news if you want to leave once the discounted rate comes to an end, you can!

This Sky bundle is available for sign up now.

3. What sign-up bonuses are on offer?

With Sky, you get access to the ridiculously popular Sky Atlantic. Good news for Game of Thrones addicts!

Virgin Media

1. What do you get?

With Virgin Media, you get unlimited 240 Mb broadband, a home phone plan and over 50 digital channels. So, faster broadband than eir and Sky.

2. What does it cost?

Virgin Medias offering €25 off its standard pricing for this offer for the first 12 months (or the entire length of your contract!) so you'll pay €64 per month for the first 12 months, after which the price will rise to €89 a month. As with Sky, it's a 12-month contract so you can switch providers again once the special discount rate comes to an end. 

3. What sign-up bonuses are on offer?

As a new Virgin Media customer, you’ll have exclusive access to its Red House Ninja service. A team of tech experts will visit your home and make sure that you’re getting the best out of your Virgin Media services. The team will install the best modem, check the Wi-Fi signal in every room, repair any old wiring issues, connect all home devices, give advice on how to maximise your in-home speed, as well as ensuring that you are getting the most out of your TV service.

You can sign up for this Virgin Media deal right here, right now.

Vodafone

1. What do you get?

With Vodafone, you get unlimited 100 Mb broadband, a home phone plan and over 50 digital channels. So, basically the same as eir and Sky, but the broadband ain’t as fast as Virgin Media’s.

2. What does it cost?

Until the end of February 2018, you can sign up for this offer and pay just €25 per month for the first 6 months, rising to €80 per month after that. It’s an 18-month contract so the average monthly cost works out at €61.67.

3. What sign-up bonuses are on offer?

You can pick between 6 months of free eir Sport or 6 months of free multi-room viewing.

This Vodafone offer is up for grabs right now.

Who wins?

Well, it’s impossible to pick a clear winner across the board.

Virgin Media has the fastest broadband at the moment but eir and Sky have great sign up incentives.

The key point here is that there are some genuinely fantastic Tripleplay offers out there at the moment.

If you aren’t happy with your broadband speed or the price you’re paying, there’s no reason to settle. All of the deals we’ve covered are available for sign up on bonkers.ie right now.

Provider

Core features

Avg monthly price

Sign up bonus

eir

  • 100 Mb broadband

  • 50+ TV channels

  • home phone

€64

  • free eir Sport

Sky

  • 100 Mb broadband

  • 50+ TV channels

  • home phone

€64.50

  • free Sky Atlantic

Virgin Media

  • 240 Mb broadband

  • 50+ TV channels

  • home phone

€64

  • Red House ninjas

Vodafone

  • 100 Mb broadband

  • 50+ TV channels

  • home phone

€61.67

  • 6 months free eir Sport or

  • 6 months free multiroom

bonkers.ie is a personal finance and price comparison website in Ireland that compares the best broadband and home phone deals, electricity deals, credit card offers, savings accounts, current accounts and loans.

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Copyright © 2018 www.AdvisoryHQ.com. All Rights Reserved.

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The post Which Australian Banks Offer Tap and Pay? appeared first on Canstar.

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